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Family says off-duty officer used excessive force on 70-year-old man suffering mini-stroke

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MARSHALL, Mo. – An elderly man says after he lost control of his vehicle and struck a house, an off-duty police officer held him against his will while he suffered a mini-stroke.

James “Jim” Miller, 70, a grandfather and longtime realtor in Marshall, says around 6 o’clock Sunday night he was driving to a Wal-Mart when he suddenly felt dizzy and ill. According to a police report, Miller's pickup veered off the road near south Hawthorne and Sunset and hit a house. In the report, an officer says there was a crack in the house and minor damage to the front left bumper of Miller's truck.

"I turned into what I thought was a street. It turned out to be a drive-way. Looked like there was a car backing up. I turned the steering wheel and hit this guy's house," said Miller.

A disoriented Miller says he couldn't believe what happened next; an off-duty officer Scott Hedrick with the Columbia Police Department ran up to him, pulled him out of his vehicle, slammed him face down to the ground and held him down with his knee on his back and neck.

"I was leaning over a little bit and the next thing I know the door jerked open and he jerked me out,” recalled Miller.

Miller says he has a blocked artery on the right side of the his neck and repeatedly asked the officer, who was allegedly accusing Miller of being drunk, to remove his knee because he believed he was having a stroke.

"They thought I was some old drunk and everybody in this town knows who I am,” said Miller.

Miller and his family say the officer ignored Miller's pleas and held him down until Marshall Police officers arrived.

"He had my arm twisted behind my back. I said it was hurting and he said ‘I’ll break your arm,’” Miller recalled.

A Marshall police officer says when he got there Hedrick was restraining the elderly man on the ground.  The police report states the officer then handcuffed Miller, walked him to his patrol car and noticed that he was limping. Miller says after he hit the ground he suffered swelling under his left eye and a bruise on his right leg.

Miller says he has a pre-existing blocked artery in his neck says before the accident, he thought he showed signs of a stroke.

When he went to his doctor's office on Monday, his doctor confirmed Miller did in fact suffer a mini-stroke when he lost control of his pickup.

"That man could've killed my dad last night. He was told and told what was wrong with him, what happened, but he refused to listen," said Miller’s daughter, Robin Miller.

According to a police report, Sergeant Hedrick was attending a gathering at the home when he says Miller hit the house where Hedrick’s wife was standing. Hedrick told investigators he restrained Miller until cops arrived, because he says the elderly driver refused to get out of his truck after the accident.

FOX 4 stopped by the home on south Hawthorne on Monday. A man answered the door, but did not want to speak to us.

An investigating officer with the Marshall Police Department says he did see a crack in the brick of the house and damage to the front left bumper of Miller's truck.

“I think he should be put on the carpet. They're supposed to be trained to know when it's medical and when it's something else,” said Miller.

A spokesperson for the Columbia Police Department confirmed that Scott Hedrick is "a decorated, veteran patrol sergeant with the Columbia Police Department," but wouldn’t comment any further.

In the meantime, FOX 4 was told Marshall’s prosecutor will review this case and determine if charges should be filed against Sergeant Scott Hedrick.