TV Host Says He Was Arrested Without Cause | Courthouse News Service
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TV Host Says He Was Arrested Without Cause

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CN) - Television host and bird expert James Currie says he was wrongfully arrested when he tried to set the record straight about "a man dressed in a Superman costume" who was accused of causing a violent car accident.

Currie, host of National Geographic's "Aerial Assassins" show, claims the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office booked him and the costumed man on bogus charges after they were involved in a South Florida car crash.

First, Currie claims, police arrested the man in the superhero costume for drunk driving even though he was a passenger, not the driver.

Then, when Currie stuck up for the costumed man, Currie was arrested as well, the complaint says.

In his lawsuit in Palm Beach County circuit court, Currie claims his reputation was "greatly injured."

"As a television personality, [Currie] has been brought to public scandal, disrepute and disgrace," the lawsuit states.

Police records indicate that the costumed man was Currie's brother-in-law Benjamin Patchen.

Currie and Patchen were riding together in a Dodge pickup truck which smashed into a median and triggered the multi-car accident on June 6, 2013, according to a police report.

Patchen, "wearing his blue and red Superman costume with cape," fled the scene of the crash and ran towards a local school, according to the report.

A K-9 unit tracked him down, the report said.

"Superman was hiding in the trees," the report states. "When he realized a fence separated [him and the deputy], it appeared as if he was going to flee again. ... Deputies jumped the fence and took Superman aka Patchen into custody without further incident."

Patchen was brought back to the scene of the crash, but he allegedly refused to answer questions or submit to sobriety tests. According to the report, he said that he would talk to police later, "because he [had been] at his bachelor's party and was trashed."

Currie's lawsuit claims that all the while, Currie was "cooperating with the investigating officers and tending to the injured."

The lawsuit says that although Currie tried to explain that Patchen was a passenger and not the driver, police refused to listen.

Currie says he repeatedly urged Deputy Ken Noel to believe him, and Noel responded by arresting Currie on a charge of disobeying an officer.

Noel wrote in the police report that Currie was argumentative and was arrested on account of his unwillingness to leave the scene upon being ordered away by Noel.

Noel also noted that he "observed an obvious odor" of alcohol coming from the crashed pickup truck in which Currie and Patchen had been riding. There were "several beer cans" inside the vehicle, according to the police report.

Currie is represented by attorney Christopher Haddad of Lake Worth, Fla.

The criminal charges against Currie and Patchen were dropped.

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