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San Bernardino County man dies after deputies use Taser to subdue him

Allen Kephart, 43, dies after San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies used a Taser gun to subdue him after a traffic stop.

May 12, 2011|By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
  • Allen Kephart's family provided this photograph of the Crest Park man who died after being Tasered by San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies.
Allen Kephart's family provided this photograph of the Crest Park… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

A 43-year-old man died after San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies used a Taser gun to subdue him after a traffic stop, authorities said Wednesday.

A deputy attempted to stop Allen Kephart, a disc jockey and teacher's assistant from Crest Park, after he allegedly ran a stop sign about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday on California 189 in Blue Jay, said Cindy Bachman, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

Kephart pulled into a Valero gas station parking lot about a quarter of a mile away, got out of the car and "became combative and uncooperative" with the deputy, Bachman said. Additional deputies arrived to assist, she said.

"The deputy attempted to place him under arrest, at which time he was Tased," Bachman said. "He became unconscious, and medical aid was immediately provided, CPR."

Kephart was taken to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.

Kephart's father, a member of the Sheriff's Department's volunteer mounted rangers unit for decades, called his son's death a senseless use of excessive force. The incident happened when his son was returning to the family home after filling up his car with gas in Crestline.

"To me, it's not just a traffic stop. It's murder. You don't kill a person for running a stop sign," said Jack Kephart, also of Crest Park.

He said witnesses told him that the deputy slammed his son to the ground. His son was Tasered about eight times by two deputies, said Jack Kephart, who dismissed assertions that his son was combative with the deputies.

"He's never raised a hand in 43 years. He goes to church three times a week. He does the audio for the church in Crestline," Jack Kephart said. "He works three jobs. He's never had a drink. Never done drugs. Never smoked. Never done nothing."

Allen Kephart weighed about 350 pounds and had high blood pressure, his father said.

"Those Tasers are deadly," the father said. "They should know there could be problems ... using them on someone who is heavy." He said he is considering taking legal action against the department.

Sheriff's Department homicide detectives are investigating the incident, and the Riverside County coroner will conduct an autopsy to determine Kephart's cause of death, Bachman said.

phil.willon@latimes.com

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