In September of 2018, Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Austin Johnston was on patrol in Austin, Texas, when he spotted a stolen pickup driven by 24-year-old Dustin Lee Dougherty. Trooper Johnston initiated a traffic stop but Dougherty refused to pull over. Instead, Dougherty sped away while Trooper Johnston followed in pursuit.
For several minutes Dougherty attempted to evade Trooper Johnston up and down North Austin streets, driving recklessly at high speeds and endangering himself and others. After entering a residential neighborhood, Dougherty came to an abrupt stop, put the pickup in reverse, and floored the throttle. The pickup lurched backward, violently ramming into the front of Trooper Johnston’s patrol car. Having just been attacked with a deadly weapon weighing thousands of pounds, Trooper Johnston exited his disabled vehicle and immediately engaged Dougherty with his duty firearm, striking him at least once.
Dougherty bailed out of the truck and fled on foot toward bystanders while holding something in his hand consistent with a handgun. Fearing Dougherty was about to escalate his violence in an increasingly desperate bid to escape, Trooper Johnston again fired at Dougherty to prevent a potential hostage situation and keep the bystanders safe. Dougherty continued running and managed to escape on foot. He was later found hiding from police and taken into custody.
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted Dougherty of aggravated assault on a peace officer, a first-degree felony, and obtained a six-year prison sentence. Prior to assaulting Trooper Johnston, Dougherty had amassed an extensive
impressive record of eight arrests and convictions.
Trooper Johnston’s actions were investigated internally by the Department of Public Safety, found to be consistent with department policy, and he was quickly returned to full duty. In addition, the Texas Rangers conducted their own routine, parallel investigation of Johnston’s actions to determine whether Johnston committed any crimes. As a result, the Rangers declined to file any charges.
Johnston later applied to, and was accepted into a prestigious Federal Law Enforcement agency. The agency was aware of the pending grand jury review of the shooting incident prior to his acceptance into the Academy, and is now aware of the of the indictment obtained by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. In perhaps the most telling decision to date, the Federal Agency has decided to retain Johnston as a paid employee even after the indictment in state court.
Two years passed before this indictment and No effort was made by the Travis County District Attorney to remove Johnston from his law enforcement duties. The claim now is that Johnston is a menace to society and should face a LIFE SENTENCE in prison for the incident with the felon already convicted and sent to prison for assaulting Johnston under the identical circumstances.
This fund is to support Johnston with legal fees and other related increasing legal expenses. Johnston is a brave and caring member of society whose only wish is to protect the citizens he serves. He has earned numerous awards including the Texas Department of Public Safety Lifesaving award.
Any donations would be appreciated. This fundraiser has been set up in support of Johnston, as he would never ask anyone for help during this trying time.
All donations will be maintained in a secure account, which will be used to directly pay expenses that arise. Expenditures will be logged and any leftover funds at the end of this process will be donated to charity.