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Four deputies subdue suspect

It took four deputies and a face full of pepper spray to subdue a North San Juan man Thursday who was wanted for several months, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.

David Ashley Birge, 39, fought with deputies for a full four minutes, said Nevada County Undersheriff John Trauner, elbowing a female deputy in the eye during the struggle.

Birge had been wanted by Nevada County law enforcement since July for three warrants, Trauner said, including one stemming from an incident in December when he allegedly fled from deputies in a stolen vehicle after being caught with three pounds of marijuana.



According to court records, Birge was wanted for evading law enforcement, failing to appear in court on charges of spousal abuse and possession of stolen auto parts.

“We had been spotting him occasionally over the last three weeks and it always ended up in some sort of a pursuit,” said Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Ron Smith.




Trauner said the sheriff had good reason to send four deputies to the mobile home on the 14000 block of Grizzly Hill Road in North San Juan, where Birge was reported to be staying Thursday.

“He has a propensity to flee and fight,” Trauner said.

Just last month, deputies raided the same home during an arrest warrant sweep of North San Juan. When deputies arrived at the home at 9:30 p.m., Birge reportedly would not come out of the bathroom.

In a pushing match, Trauner said, the bathroom door came off the hinges and the brawl continued into the hallway, living room and kitchen, then ended up on the porch where Birge was pepper-sprayed in the face and handcuffed.

The fight lasted a good four minutes, “an eternity when you’re fighting,” Trauner said.

“He did not want to go peacefully,” he said. “He was amping on meth and he had more power and renewed strength.”

Deputies also allegedly found a glass pipe in one of Birge’s pockets.

Birge was sent to the hospital and medically checked – protocol when law enforcement uses pepper spray – and later released to deputies’ custody.

The female deputy elbowed in the eye was also treated for bruising at the hospital, and another deputy, who sustained a cut to his knuckles in the fight, refused treatment.

“The deputies should be commended for their use of restraint,” Trauner said.

Birge was booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility at 1:08 a.m. Friday on charges of battery of a police officer, receiving stolen property, obstructing/resisting an officer, being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting a police officer, vandalism and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

Birge appeared in Nevada County Superior Court Friday afternoon and his bail was set at $25,000.

He is scheduled for arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

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To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@ theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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