Lincoln man steps in to help an officer in need

Posted by: Marlenia Thornton

Things got a bit heated in the south Menards parking lot  near 89th and Andermatt Thursday.

33–year–old Zach Whitson was there on his phone when he noticed something strange.

"I see a full grown man come sprinting out of the store full speed out the corner my eye,” witness Zach Whitson said.

Police said it was 46 –year–old Robert Mello of Omaha.

 They said he was trying to return a drill he didn’t buy.

That’s when police responded.

They said Mello ran to the parking lot and an officer followed.

They got into a struggle. That’s when things escalated.

Police said Mello backed up his car and then drove it forward dragging the 39–year–old officer at least 10 feet each direction.

That’s when Whitson stepped in.

He drove his pickup in front of the suspect’s trying to stop him from getting away.

"The witnesses actions were brave. I’m sure as he watched this unfold. He was thinking how I could help and he acted quickly in attempt to stop that suspect,” Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood said.

Police said Mello swerved and hit the front of the pickup before eventually driving away.

The Nebraska State patrol later caught up with him in Nebraska City where he arrested.

Whitson said he just knew it was the right thing to do.

"Usually the right thing to do is pretty clear, just it’s convincing yourself if you’re actually going to do it,” Whitson said.

"I wasn’t able in good conscience just let it go beyond so that I tried to at least slow him down or block him,” he said.

Mello was taken to jail in Lincoln for 2nd degree assault on an officer and several misdemeanors.

The officer luckily only had a few scrapes.