An intoxicated Putnam man coughed at a state trooper who was investigating an assault complaint, told the trooper he had coronavirus and said, “now you’re infected,” according to state police.
Authorities said the incident started with a report at 7:12 p.m. Thursday of a disturbance in the parking lot of a business in East Putnam.
Two troopers who happened to be in the area when the call came in responded. When they pulled into the parking lot, the suspects jumped into a car and fled, heading west on Route 44 and nearly hit a trooper, police said.
Troopers stopped the car on Route 44, near the intersection of Interstate 395, and police said the driver, a 52-year-old Putnam man, had assaulted his girlfriend, who was in the car.
Police said the man, James Keith, appeared to be intoxicated and he admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages earlier in the evening, then failed a standardized field sobriety test, police said.
As police were placing Keith in handcuffs, he turned toward a trooper, aggressively coughed, told the trooper he had coronavirus and said, “now you’re infected” to the trooper.
Keith was transported back to Troop D and charged with breach of peace and driving under the influence.
He was held on a $5,000 bond.
Police said the female victim declined medical attention and troopers made sure that she got home safely.