Police in Portsmouth, New Hampshire used a Taser on a 78-year-old man who wrecked his vehicle after suffering a medical emergency while driving earlier this week.
Police say an officer responded to a call around 11:30 a.m. Sunday from a retail outlet in Portsmouth.
Upon arriving, the officer found an unidentified elderly who man had crashed into some parked cars.
Police say the driver had his window down but ignored commands to stop, and struck another parked car and continued driving in an erratic manner.
Police say the man eventually hit the officer’s patrol car as well causing minor damage to its headlight.
The officer told the driver he was under arrest and attempted to pull the elderly man from his vehicle, police say. The officer then used his Taser when he was having trouble removing the man, shocking him twice.
Emergency crews called to the scene said the man appeared to be weak and quickly determined that he was diabetic and suffering from low blood sugar. He was taken to a local hospital where he received medical attention.
Diabetics in that condition can be combative or angry. Symptoms also often resemble drug or alcohol intoxication.
The deputy police chief said the incident was “regrettable,” but the officer was not aware the driver was suffering a medical emergency.
“Our police officers are not paramedics,” Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonald said. “They are charged with bringing dangerous situations under control. This driver could just as easily have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or engaging in willful criminal conduct.”
The driver was not charged in the incident, and police say the damage to other vehicles was minor.
Officer actions will be reviewed by a use of force committee.