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Officer hit by car wants input on driver's sentence

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Glasgow police officer hit by a car in the line of duty wants his say in court.

Patrolman Steven Smith of the Glasgow Police Department was responding to a call in October 2011 when he was hit by a car driven by Larry Dangerfield. Dangerfield hit the officer while trying to stop a tow truck driver from repossessing his truck.

In November, Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Rob Schulenberg entered a plea agreement with Dangerfield to lesser charges in connection with attacking the tow truck driver and hitting Smith with his car. Smith, however, said he didn't find out about the plea deal until it had already been approved.

Smith said he first heard of the plea deal was when he received a letter on Nov. 17, three days after the deal was made. "They'd already sent the letter and made the deal without even consulting me," Smith said. "When I called to protest, they told me there was nothing I could do about it.

"The man hit me with a 4,000-pound object," Smith said. "He intended to hit me."

Earlier this week, Smith filed a motion in Kanawha Circuit Court requesting the right to make a victim-impact statement at Dangerfield's sentencing.

The sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17. Smith said prosecutors never told him when the sentencing was and that, by the time he found out, said it was too late to file his intention to make an impact statement.

Schulenberg no longer works for the prosecutor's office, and Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said he is unfamiliar with whatever communications might have gone on between Smith and Schulenberg.

Plants said Smith doesn't need to file anything in order to make a victim-impact statement.

"He doesn't have to file anything, he just shows up and makes a statement," Plants said. "He has a right to give a victim-impact statement. Period."

Plants said he doesn't know if Smith was kept in the loop on Dangerfield's case or not, but if he wasn't, he should have been.

"Every victim should be as informed as possible about their case," Plants said.

"I find it disturbing that a victim has issues with any member of my staff and hasn't contacted me," he said. "This is the first I've heard of it."

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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