Wichita man charged with assaulting officers
June 27, 2021
A Wichita man is in the Woods County Jail following an altercation with law enforcement. As several officers tried to subdue the man, Woods County Undersheriff Keith Dale suffered a broken hand.
According to court records, on Monday, June 21, about 4:30 p.m. Woods County E911 received a report of a man with no shirt or shoes walking along US-281 near Craig Road and throwing his hands up in the air.
Undersheriff Dale and Deputy Sheriff Chase Jones made contact with the man, asking for identification and questioning why he was walking along the highway with no shirt or shoes. The man, later identified as Caleb Phye, said he ran out of gas and was taking the glass bottle he had in his back pocket to the gas station to get gas for his vehicle.
Jones states that Phye was acting erratic from the beginning of their conversation. He would speak normally and comply with their verbal orders. Then he would become anxious and start yelling at the officers while refusing to comply. He continued to show aggressive behavior by lunging toward the officers and moving away rapidly. Based on his training and experience, Jones believed Phye was under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
The officers told Phye they would take him to the closest gas station, and he said he would go. However, when asked to empty his pockets for officer safety, he declined and began walking away from them down the highway.
Jones and Dale got back into their vehicle and began following Phye to stop traffic, because Phye was walking back and forth in the middle of the highway and yelling at them for following him. On two occasions, Phye reached into his waistband and began to pull his hand out, acting like his hand was a weapon and pointing it at officers. Jones and Dale requested additional officers to assist in removing Phye from the roadway for his safety and the safety of motorists.
When other officers arrived, Phye began acting more combative and refusing to comply with verbal commands. He took the glass bottle from his back pocket, began waving it around and pointing it at the officers. After being told numerous times to drop the glass bottle, Phye dropped it, took a chain from around his waist and began swinging it around.
At this point, officers decided a taser deployment from a patrol vehicle was necessary to subdue Phye safely. Officer David Cummings got into the passenger seat of Undersheriff Dale’s patrol car, and they pulled alongside Phye. The first deployment did not make contact due to Phye’s constant bodily movements, but a second deployment of the taser was successful. It caused Phye to fall to the ground and remain there while officers were able to safely take him into custody by placing him in handcuffs and leg shackles until Alva EMS arrived to remove the probes.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. Phye was transported by Alva EMS to Share Medical Center in Alva to be medically cleared to remain in the custody of the Woods County Sheriff’s Office. At approximately 10 p.m., Phye was medically cleared to be taken to the county jail.
Upon discharge from the hospital, Phye refused to leave the exam room. Undersheriff Dale requested a vehicle with a safety barrier from the Alva Police Department. Alva Police Officers Ron Vasquez and Tim Clapp arrived to assist Dale, Jones and Deputy Adam Honeyman in removing Phye from the exam room.
Phye was cuffed with his hands in front, and when officers tried to move the handcuffs behind his back, he became combative and resisted. In the process of getting the handcuffs moved to the back, Phye kept using his torso and head to cover the handcuffs so Vasquez and Jones were unable to loosen them to place his hands behind his back.
Due to his combative behavior and constant attempts to move his head, arms and legs, Dale placed his hand on Phye’s head in an attempt to stabilize him. Officer Clapp was holding his legs down. With the twisting and shaking of Phye’s head, Dale caught his finger on the bridge of Phye’s nose, causing Dale’s hand to break. After this, officers were able to get the handcuffs secured behind Phye’s back and took him to the vehicle without further incident. He was transported to the Woods County Jail.
At the jail at approximately 10:30 p.m. Phye went into the holding cell without incident where he was changed into a jumpsuit. Due to his constant erratic behavior, he was unable to be booked in at that time. He was booked in the next day.
Phye’s vehicle was located near the area where he had been walking. It was inventoried and impounded.
On June 22, Jones received the toxicology report from Share Medical Center indicating that Phye was under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana.
A criminal history check of Phye indicated he has two prior felony drug convictions in Kansas as well as convictions for misdemeanor domestic violence and misdemeanor assault and battery on peace officers.
Caleb Grant Phye, 32, of Wichita, Kansas, was charged June 23 with assault and battery on a police officer (Undersheriff Keith Dale), a felony. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.
Phye is also charged with two misdemeanors: resisting an officer and public intoxication. The first charge is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of up to $500 or both. The second is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months or by a fine not exceeding $500, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Phye is being held in the Woods County Jail. His bond has been set at $2,500.