A Somerset man who initially resisted a traffic stop has been sentenced to three years probation for first-degree Wanton Endangerment of a Police Officer.

Mariano A. Mez, 41, pleaded guilty to the charge through the Rocket Docket program and was sentenced on April 22 after being arrested in the early morning hours of March 23.

According to his citation, Mez was driving north on Monticello Street in a 2012 Ford Focus when Somerset Police Officer Cameron Claunch ran the tag and discovered that Mez' registration had been canceled for failure to maintain insurance.

When Ofc. Claunch activated his emergency lights in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop just north of the First Church of God of Somerset, Mez continued driving -- turning right onto Murphy Avenue then left onto Griffin Avenue before ultimately stopping.

According to the citation, Ofc. Claunch approached the vehicle and advised Mez to put it in park.

"At this time, [Mez] looked down and the vehicle began rolling forward," Clauch wrote. "I then opened the driver's door in an attempt to put the vehicle in park but was drug approximately 20 feet until I was finally able to put the vehicle in park."

In addition to wanton endangerment, Mez was initially charged second-degree Fleeing or Evading Police (Motor Vehicle) and Resisting Arrest as well as No Registration Plates, No Operator's License and Failure of Non-Owner to Maintain Insurance. However, those charges were dismissed in exchange for Mez' plea through the Rocket Docket -- a program that saves the time and cost of presenting cases to the grand jury and prosecuting them through Circuit Court.

Should Mez fail to comply with the conditions of his supervised probation, he could face a three-year prison sentence.

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