Tigard police: Officer quarantined after suspect coughed on her
A man arrested in Tigard on Sunday, July 26, is facing a felony charge of aggravated harassment after he allegedly coughed and spat at officers as they searched him.
The Tigard Police Department said officers responded to McDonalds, 11201 S.W. 72nd Ave., at about 2:23 a.m. Sunday after employees reported a man later identified as Miguel Hernandez-Cuesta had fallen asleep behind the wheel of a running car in the drive-thru.
After rousing Hernandez-Cuesta, police said, officers placed him under arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants and driving while suspended.
According to the police account, Hernandez-Cuesta was uncooperative during the encounter, putting his car into gear and nearly hitting a patrol car after being ordered to turn off the engine.
While officers searched him for weapons or dangerous items, police said, Hernandez-Cuesta began coughing and told them he had COVID-19. When asked to stop coughing on them, police added, he turned his head toward them instead and continued to cough.
At one point, according to police, Hernandez-Cuesta spat in the face of the officer closest to him.
The officer was wearing a mask and gloves at the time, in accordance with the city of Tigard's health and safety protocols.
Although she had protective equipment on during the encounter, the police department said the officer has been placed under quarantine to monitor for any potential symptoms.
Kelsey Anderson, spokesperson for the Tigard Police Department, said two other officers were standing further back and were not spit on during the arrest, so they have not been asked to quarantine. However, she said, they are monitoring for symptoms for at least 72 hours in accordance with Tigard's health and safety protocols.
Staff at the Washington County Jail confirmed Hernandez-Cuesta had tested positive for COVID-19, Anderson said.
"Based on his actions, it is our belief he acted knowingly in trying to expose the officer to COVID-19," the police department said in a statement, adding: "Officers who are victims during the course and scope of their duties have the same rights as any other community members, and we intend to assist the Washington County District Attorney's Office with any future prosecution for this intentional and unwarranted exposure beyond our routine day-to-day duties."
Hernandez-Cuesta, a Wilsonville resident, has a history of driving infractions. He was convicted of DUII and reckless endangering charges in 2019 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, according to court records.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the gender of the Tigard police officer quarantined after allegedly being spat on. The officer is a woman. This story has been updated with more information on the suspect, including his name and criminal history.
By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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