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Off-duty NHP trooper accused of road rage, assault of 19-year-old in Spanish Springs

STOP SIGN

A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper has been taken off the streets after he allegedly assaulted a 19-year-old man in Spanish Springs.

It all started at stop sign at the intersection of La Posada Dr. and Cordoba Blvd. Trevor Howard said he was driving behind an NHP trooper's personal truck on Saturday, April 29.

"He doesn't have his turn signal on, so I pull over to the left so I can ... go at the same time as him," Trevor said.

But the truck also turned left, so Trevor said he slowed down to let the driver go ahead of him.

He said he saw the trooper in the passenger seat: "He's like screaming at me out the window."

Trevor would later learn the NHP trooper was teaching his teenage son how to drive.

He said the yelling continued while he drove behind the truck for about a mile, but then the one-lane road widened to two lanes. Trevor decided to pass the trooper's vehicle.

"He rolled down his window again and started screaming at me and telling me to pull over and stuff." Trevor said he pulled into the Save Mart parking lot off Pyramid Highway to try to get away from the road rage incident, but when he parked, the situation escalated because the trooper pulled up right next to him.

"Halfway out of the car, he's already, like, on me - like, trying to throw me to the ground - and I'm just trying to defend myself anyway that I can." Trevor said the assault lasted at least five minutes. "I don't know what this dude's problem is, but he's like trying to kill me for no reason."

The 19-year-old said he had never been in a real fight before and he was focused on surviving as the trooper repeatedly punched him and pushed him to the ground.

Meanwhile, the trooper's son was watching the brawl and eventually spoke up. Trevor said, "Right when his son said, 'Stop! He's a cop!' it was almost like he snapped out of it and he just stared at his son, gave him a super dirty look."

Trevor got back into his car, covered in bruises with blood running down his face. He said, "I had to get an MRI and like a whole bunch of X-rays."

He reported the incident to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. Deputies used the trooper's license plate to identify him as Sergeant Don Plowman.

Sheriff's officials said they gave Plowman a citation for misdemeanor battery, and the NHP placed him on administrative duty. NHP Chief Dennis Osborn said, "He's not wearing a uniform. He's not driving a patrol vehicle."

Osborn said the Nevada Department of Public Safety has now opened an internal affairs investigation on Sgt. Plowman: "We are held to a higher standard. We know that when we raise our right hand and swear in the oath to be a peace officer."

He said Sgt. Plowman has been with the NHP for nearly 20 years and has never done anything like this before during his career. In fact, Osborn said Plowman's record shows he has never been disciplined during his time as a trooper for the NHP.

Trevor said he doesn't want to destroy the sergeant's life, but he hopes Plowman will be held accountable for what happened.

"What's that saying about, like, the people who like are supposed to be defending us ... If you're going to act that way [off-duty], like how do you act when you're on duty?" Trevor said. "Like, shouldn't you keep the same moral code?"

News 4-Fox 11 obtained a video showing the altercation between Trevor and Sgt. Plowman, but the person who shot that video would not give permission to allow us to use it on air or online.

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