An Indiana woman is accused of viciously beating a meter reader who used pepper spray on her dogs.
April Miller-Johnson, a veteran meter reader for Vectren Corp., said she had just finished examining a utility meter outside an Evansville home when the homeowner let two dogs outside, reported the Evansville Courier & Press.
The 54-year-old Johnson said she yelled at the dogs as they charged toward her and then used her Vectren-issued pepper spray as the animals continued approaching.
The homeowner, identified as 30-year-old Kim Jordan, came outside and yelled at the meter reader for spraying the dogs with the chemical irritant.
Miller-Johnson, who is black, said she left to continue her work, but she said Jordan, who is white, briefly followed her before returning home.
Then Jordan and her fiancé pulled up in a sport utility vehicle, and the woman jumped out and attacked the meter reader, police said.
Miller-Johnson and a witness said Jordan repeatedly beat the meter reader in the eye with some type of can and then grabbed her by the hair and hit the back of her head with the can.
The witness said she tried to confront Jordan before the woman got back into her SUV and fled.
Police found Miller-Johnson lying face down and bleeding, and several bystanders were trying to help the meter reader.
Miller-Johnson was treated at an area hospital for head and eye injuries.
At least one neighbor told WFIE-TV the meter reader was justified in using pepper spray to defend herself against the dogs.
It’s not clear how big the dogs are or what breed they are.
“I would have done the same thing, especially when it comes to protection of your well-being,” said Brittney Ramsey, who walks past Jordan’s home nearly every day. “I thought she had every right to do that. Now that it’s happened, it does make me nervous to even walk down the street with my animal or my child, because I wouldn’t want that to happen to me. They’ve obviously done it once — who’s to say they can’t do it again?”
Jordan was arrested a short time later driving on an expressway nearby and charged with battery with injury.
Her fiancé claims the meter reader refused to identify herself, so Jordan followed her until she spotted the Vectren truck — but he said the utility company was unable to provide any information over the phone.
That’s when Jordan decided to take matters into her own hands, the fiancé said.
Police said the couple sprayed Miller-Johnson with some type of chemical and repeatedly struck her with the can.
Jordan’s fiancé, who has not been charged in the attack, said the couple plans to file a trespassing suit against Vectren.
A representative for the utility company said employee safety is a paramount concern for Vectren, and officials for the company are working closely with police and prosecutors.
Watch this video report posted online by WFIE-TV: