A two-hour standoff between police and an armed truck driver in Cleveland ended peacefully Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m. when the trucker surrendered.
According to Cleveland Police Chief Darrel Broussard, the truck driver – later identified as Daniel Joseph Georgianni, 53, of Galveston – is charged with Resisting Arrest, a Class A misdemeanor, and Interference With Public Duties, a Class B misdemeanor. Additional charges may still be applied.
The incident started after an unrelated motor vehicle accident had traffic at a standstill at the intersection of Blair and Belcher streets between Washington Ave. and US 59. The truck driver was pulling a flat bed trailer hauling a piece of heavy equipment and was forced to wait while officers finished with the accident investigation.
“The truck driver kept bumping his horn and continued bumping his horn. After the officers told him that he was going to be there for a little while and could not move, he threatened to drive through our crash scene if the officers did not move the accident quicker,” said Chief Broussard. “An officer went up to the truck and told him again to stop bumping his horn at them. He refused again. The officer returned back to the crash scene and tried to finish up working the scene. The truck driver laid on his horn several more times.”
Broussard said the officer went back to the truck driver once again and told him if he didn’t stop blowing his horn, he would be arrested for noise violations. That is when the situation reportedly began to escalate quickly.
“He refused to identify himself to the officer. At that time, he was told that they would have to get him out of his vehicle some kind of way, either with a pepper ball or additional non-lethal weapons. He told the officers that he had a gun and was not afraid to use it. That’s when the situation escalated further,” Broussard said.
The officer reportedly backed away from the truck and notified dispatch. Additional officers with Cleveland PD, and Liberty County Pct. 2 and Pct. 6 Constable’s Offices responded to the scene and evacuated nearby buildings. Deputies with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team were dispatched to the scene to assist, as were hostage negotiators Paul Lowery and Chance Maddox with the Liberty County Attorney’s Office. Splendora Police Department showed up with drone support.
According to Capt. David Meyers with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the SRT vehicle was staged a short distance away in the event it was needed.
“The hostage negotiators were able to talk to him over the phone and get him to step of his vehicle. He agreed to leave his weapon inside the truck,” Broussard said. A Ruger handgun was recovered from inside the truck by police.
Broussard said the driver did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the standoff.
“Cleveland Police Department would like to thank the area Law Enforcement Agencies who assisted us in this standoff. Precinct 6 Constables were early on the scene and assisted with evacuating nearby businesses and a church within one-hundred feet of the standoff. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office quickly dispatched specialized supportive units, and the Liberty County Mental Health Negotiators were able to bring the situation to an end without anyone getting hurt,” said Cleveland Police Capt. Scott Felts. “What began as an irate driver excessively honking their tractor-trailer air horn turned into what was essentially a barricaded subject. Law Enforcement continually expresses to everyone who encounters police officers – cooperate with the officer. We see instance after instance where minor encounters escalate because someone wants to argue with the officer on the side of the road.”
Felts said the arena for arguments is that of the courts, not on the side of the roadway, or in this case, in the middle of the roadway.
“Refusing to identify yourself to law enforcement officers carrying out their duties is unlawful and can result in arrest,” Felts said.