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Putnam man facing DUI accused of intentionally coughing toward state trooper


James Keith, 52, of Putnam. (Photo: Connecticut State Police)

EAST PUTNAM, Conn. (WTNH) — A Putnam man facing DUI charges is also accused of intentionally coughing toward a state trooper amid the coronavirus pandemic.

State police say they were called to a disturbance at an East Putnam business parking lot around 7:12 p.m. Thursday. When two troopers arrived, 52-year-old James Keith and his girlfriend jumped into a car and fled the scene, nearly striking a trooper in the process.

Police stopped the car on Route 44 near the intersection of I-395. Troopers determined that Keith was intoxicated and that he had just physically assaulted his girlfriend.

During the suspect’s arrest, police say he turned toward the trooper handcuffing him and ‘aggressively coughed.’ Keith then stated, “Now you’re infected.”

Police say Keith told the Trooper he had the coronavirus and that the Trooper was now infected. However, there are no positive coronavirus cases confirmed in Putnam as of Thursday evening, according to the State of Connecticut.

The Putnam man was charged with Breach of Peace and Driving Under the Influence. His bond is set to $5,000 and will be arraigned Friday.

Troopers say the victim declined medical attention and they made sure that she got home safely.

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