Man contends deputy shot him before he sped away
A southeast Fayette man testified late Tuesday that he didn’t speed away from an altercation between two sheriff’s deputies Nov. 29 until after he was shot.
Nathaniel Elder told the jury that he was shot when he put his hand on the gear shift to put the car in drive.
Elder’s testimony contradicted earlier testimony from Dep. Ryan Phillips, who told the jury that he shot Elder as the car began to move, which caused Phillips to begin slipping out of the passenger’s side.
“I pulled off because I was afraid he was going to try to kill me,” Elder told the jury. “And he almost did.”
Elder explained that after he left the area, he drove to his neighborhood a few minutes away and called a neighbor, asking the neighbor to call 911 for him.
When the incident began, Elder was a passenger in the car, but after the driver exited and was placed under arrest, Elder moved over to the driver’s seat and an altercation ensued between Elder, Phillips and another deputy.
The jury was shown a video of the incident that shows the car speeding away, ejecting Phillips from the passenger’s side door, which was open.
Elder is on trial in Fayette County Superior Court for two felony counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, two felony counts of obstructing a police officer and one misdemeanor count of fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer.
During his testimony, Dep. Phillips denied he was trying to kill Elder by firing the two shots, but insisted he was instead “trying to stop the threat.”
“I was in fear for my life of getting run over by that car and getting pinned under it,” Phillips told the jury.
Elder testified that when he and friend Paul Stewart were pulled over, they were going to the Food Lion grocery store on County Line Road. Stewart testified that he thought Elder needed to go there to get some firewood.
Elder is being represented by defense attorney Daniel Kane. The case is being prosecuted by Fayette County Assistant District Attorney Robert Smith.