The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

April 17, 2013

Avon man pleads guilty right before trial

ANDERSON, Ind. — An Avon man accused of stealing tires and running over an Anderson police officer’s foot while attempting to escape pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

Jeffrey S. Dial, 44, pleaded guilty to three felonies and two misdemeanors stemming from a March 2 incident when police caught Dial stealing tires from vehicles at Ed Martin Auto Center. Police said while they tried to make an arrest, Dial got in a minivan, ran over an officer’s foot, led Anderson and Pendleton police on a high-speed pursuit, crashed the van into a home and eluded authorities on foot for a few hours.

Dial was being charged with attempted murder, and the trial, set for Wednesday, was moving forward until Dial and Indianapolis-based attorney Carl Brizzi received a plea agreement from deputy prosecutor Jeff Lockwood. Brizzi said he was pleased with the agreement and thought Lockwood made an effort to be fair to Dial.

The trial was set for Madison Circuit Court 4, where Dial will still receive sentencing from Judge Dennis Carroll in May. The exact sentence date hasn’t been determined yet.

“What we want to impress upon the judge is [Dial] has taken responsibility for his actions and knows he deserves some form of punishment,” Brizzi said. “We want to show Jeff in a different light and show some people make mistakes.”

The amended felony charges include battery, resisting law enforcement and theft, along with misdemeanor charges reckless driving and failure to stop. Brizzi said the cap for those charges is a prison sentence of four years, so when sentencing comes around, Dial will be hoping for something less than that.

Brizzi also said Dial apologized to the officer he injured during pretrial conferences.

“We feel there was no evidence he was trying to kill anyone. [Dial] has shown remorse for what he did and for hurting the officer,” Brizzi said.

Dial’s wife, Tina Dial, 41, was also implicated in the incident and is scheduled to go to trial on May 7 on a charge of false informing. During a police interview shortly after Jeffrey Dial was arrested, she told officers Dial had been with her at home all night.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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