Ira Bruce

Ira Bruce

So much of life’s success is about being in the right place at the right time.  

This was certainly true for Pleasant Hope’s Police Chief Butch Clemings on Friday, June 29. But his success was also about quick action that day when he used his patrol car to deflect a pickup truck allegedly aimed to hurt a man at a local gas station.

Ira Stewart Bruce, 33, of Buffalo is charged with class B felony first-degree assault in Polk County Circuit Court following the incident.

He is being held in Polk County Jail on a $35,000 bond.

According to the probable cause statement, Clemings was dispatched to Hillenburg Service Station, 300 N. Main St., at around 2:43 p.m. after a call to Polk County 9-1-1 said Bruce was heading to the station to kill an employee who works there.

When Clemings arrived on scene two minutes later, he saw the employee outside the business, “walking on the drive,” the statement said.   

He then heard tires squealing on pavement, checked his rearview mirror and saw blue smoke at the intersection of Cowden Street and Main Street south of the business.

The statement said Clemings then saw a green Dodge pickup truck, driven by Bruce, with a flat tire heading north on Main Street at a “high rate of speed.”

As Bruce approached the gas station in his truck, the statement said his truck was lined up to strike the employee as it sped into the parking lot.

Clemings quickly put his patrol car into drive, hitting the truck and “knocking it away” from the employee, the statement said.

Deflected from his alleged target, Bruce drove his pickup into the gas station building.

The statement said Bruce jumped out of the truck and attacked the employee, striking him several times.

Clemings pulled out his duty weapon after giving Bruce “several commands to stop,” the statement said.

As Clemings placed Bruce under arrest, the statement said Bruce continued to shout threats at the employee.

Bruce has a criminal setting in Polk County Circuit Court set for Wednesday, July 11.

If convicted, the felony complaint said Bruce faces a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.

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