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Fishing license check nets fugitive

FORT DODGE – David Scott Dayton, 30, of Fort Dodge, was booked into Webster County Jail Thursday after assaulting State Conservation Officer Bill Spece who was checking fishing licenses at the little dam in Fort Dodge.

Spece had been checking licenses at the popular fishing spot on the Des Moines River when he encountered Dayton around 4:30 p.m. Dayton said he did not have a license and the two walked to Spece’s vehicle where Spece radioed in the name and date of birth that Dayton provided.

That name came back as having a warrant for a simple misdemeanor, and Dayton began to run.

Spece grabbed Dayton by the shirt when the suspect turned, swung, connected with the right side of Spece’s head and took an aggressive position.

“He kept advancing on me ignoring my verbal commands,” Spece said. “I continued to retreat and fell back on my training. He continued to ignore my commands until I was forced to draw my weapon to stop his advance.”

All Iowa state conservation officers are trained and certified peace officers and it was aspects of his training that Spece used to end the confrontation. Spece had radioed in for assistance while engaged with Dayton.

Fort Dodge Police and the Webster County sheriff’s deputies arrived to help take him into custody. The incident happened quickly, lasting only about a minute, but that was long enough.

“His body language from the word go said something was wrong,” Spece said.

It turned out more was wrong than just the no fishing license and one warrant.

“He gave me his brother’s name and was surprised when it came back with an outstanding warrant,” he said.

Dayton had two warrants issued including a parole violation and failure to appear. He was also found in possession of an unidentified substance, hypodermic syringes and other drug paraphernalia that will be tested at the DCI lab in Des Moines. He was charged with interference with official acts with bodily injury and for fishing without a license. Additional charges are pending.

“It was a picture perfect spring day with a lot of people out fishing, everyone seemed happy, a lot of conversation about what was biting and if I was seeing fish. Then that changed,” Spece said. “He made his mind up that he wasn’t going to go quietly. I was glad the Fort Dodge PD and Webster County deputies arrived as quickly as they did.”

Dayton is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.