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Merced officer shoots at driver during late-night showdown


A Merced Police officer had no choice but to shoot at a reckless driver who was about to run him over in a showdown near Farmdale Elementary School last night, officials said.

Lt. Tom Trinidad said the Merced Police Department received a complaint of a reckless driver in the area of Olive and G Streets, just before 10 p.m. Friday night.

The called said the driver, Ronald Dale Clark, was extremely dangerous and had driven up on the sidewalk.

Merced Police Sgt. Rod Court saw a vehicle matching the description in the area El Portal and G Streets. When Court attempted to stop the vehicle, Clark fled and continued to drive recklessly southbound on G Street.

Clark, 50, eventually drove his vehicle into the parking lot of Farmdale School and turned his vehicle directly facing the officers.

Clark drove toward the officers at a high rate of speed when one officer fired at the vehicle in an attempt to stop the serious threat, Trinidad said. The officer feared for his life and the other officers, he added.

After the gunfire, Clark veered away from officers and crashed into a cement wall where he was then taken into custody.

Clark was transported to a Merced-area hospital to be medically evaluated. He did not receive any injuries nor was he hit with any bullets, and no one was injured during this incident, Trinidad said.

Clark was arrested and booked into Merced County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon upon a police officer and reckless driving while evading police.

Police did not release the name of the officer who fired his weapon or the number of shots fired on Saturday. Check Monday’s edition of the Merced Sun-Star for updated information.

Police Detectives are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective Sergeant Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725.