WVA Man charged with battery for 'passing gas'


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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A West Virginia man who police said passed gas and fanned it toward a patrolman has been charged with battery on a police officer.

Jose A. Cruz, 34, of Clarksburg, was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for a breathalyzer test.

As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and ''passed gas loudly,'' the complaint said.

Cruz, according to complaint, then fanned the gas toward the officer.

''The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature :huh: with Patrolman Parsons,'' the complaint alleged.

He was also charged with driving under the influence, driving without headlights and two counts of obstruction.

Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn't move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.

''I couldn't hold it no more,'' he said.

He also denied being drunk and uncooperative as the police complaint alleged. He added he was upset at being prepared for a breathalyzer test while having an asthma attack. The police statement said he later resisted being secured for a trip to a hospital that he requested for asthma treatment.

Cruz said the officers thought the gas incident was funny when it happened and laughed about it with him.

''This is ridiculous,'' he said. ''I could be facing time.''

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Update:

Charge dropped against man accused of passing gas

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A West Virginia man accused of passing gas and fanning it toward a police officer no longer faces a battery charge. The Kanawha County prosecutor's office requested that the charge be dropped against 34-year-old Jose Cruz.

According to a criminal complaint, Cruz passed gas and made a fanning motion toward patrolman T.E. Parsons after being taken to the police station for a breathalyzer test. Cruz denies fanning the gas and says his request to use a restroom when first arriving at the station was denied.

An assistant says Magistrate Jack Pauley signed a motion to dismiss the charge Thursday.

Cruz, who was arrested Tuesday, still faces driving under the influence and other charges.

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