Sturgis man pleads not guilty to aggravated assault

Courtesy photo

DEADWOOD — A traffic altercation that allegedly escalated to the driver of a pickup pointing a gun at a motorcyclist in July resulted in aggravated assault charges for the pickup driver, to which he pleaded not guilty before 4th Circuit Court Judge Michelle Comer at the Lawrence County Courthouse Thursday.

David Gene Erfman, 63, of Sturgis was indicted by a Lawrence County grand jury July 28 and charged with aggravated assault, a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $30,000 in fines.

Erfman was also charged by information July 8 with reckless driving, a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines.

According to court documents, on July 7 at approximately 2:01 p.m., Deadwood police were dispatched to the area of Pine Street and US Hightway 14A for a report of a driver of a vehicle pulling a gun on another driver. The driver of the pickup, who allegedly pulled the gun on the reporting party was reportedly driving toward Central City at a high rate of speed.

At approximately 2:08 p.m., police located the pickup in Lead near Baltimore Street. The driver was detained and identified as Erfman. Police also reportedly secured a firearm located in the pickup.  

In speaking with police, Erfman alleged a motorcycle next to his pickup and punched the window, so he pulled his hand-held pistol from between his seat and the console and displayed the gun where Brian could see it, but denied pointing the gun at the victim.

Police spoke with the victim at his residence and he was allegedly visibly shaken. The victim told police that while driving down Deadwood Hill, on US Highway 85, he approached the intersection where it merges near Deadwood Station.  

At the point the lanes merge, Erfman allegedly drove from the inside lane to the outside in order to merge and allegedly brushed the arm of the victim, who was on his motorcycle. The victim allegedly attempted to get Erfman’s license plate in order to report him. However, Erfman was reportedly traveling too fast and weaving through traffic. The victim estimated Erfman’s speed to be at least 60 miles per hour while driving on US Hwy 14A. Police noted the area is a 25-mph zone.

Once the victim began to approach the red light at the intersection of Highway 14A and Pine Street, he located the pickup and pulled up beside it, still in his lane, and allegedly motioned to Erfman to roll down his window with intentions of telling Erfman he brushed up against him when merging lanes and to slow down. As the victim was motioning for Erfman to roll down the window, he allegedly observed Erfman lean over on the front seat of his pickup and pull up a short barrel, silver gun, and point it at him.  

The victim reportedly began to push his motorcycle backward, as he thought he was going to be shot. The victim then began yelling at patrons sitting on the steps of the Silverado to call 911. Erfman allegedly proceeded to drive toward Central City. Shaken up, the victim allegedly proceeded onto the sidewalk near the Silverado and met with a witness.

Erfman was later arrested.

Lawrence County Chief Deputy Pat Johnson said Erfman is free on $2,500 cash or surety.

Erfman’s next court date is Oct. 21.

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