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CASPER, Wyo. — A judge ruled Thursday that evidence exists for a man accused of assaulting a Wyoming state trooper just outside of Casper last week to stand trial.

Christopher Briggs is accused of kicking a trooper in the face while handcuffed and on the ground beside Interstate 25 on April 19. The incident happened about seven miles north of Casper, authorities say.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday, the trooper testified that he saw the 22-year-old driving toward Casper about 8:20 a.m. Briggs was driving a Saab on the interstate’s shoulder at a slow rate of speed, the trooper said.

When the law enforcement officer stopped to assist, Briggs told him he had inadvertently filled the vehicle with diesel and that was causing it to have engine trouble.

The trooper, after offering Briggs a ride that he turned down, had returned to his cruiser when dispatch told him the Saab had been reported stolen at gunpoint roughly one month earlier in Billings, authorities say.

The trooper put Briggs in handcuffs, at which point Briggs became combative and told the trooper to “shoot me in the face,” according to courtroom testimony.

The trooper took the man to the ground and, in a scuffle, was kicked in the face before securing Briggs, authorities say.

On Thursday, Natrona County Circuit Judge Michael Patchen sent Briggs’ case to district court. He faces one count of possession of stolen property and one count of assault on a police officer.

If convicted, he faces the possibility of more than 10 years behind bars.

Briggs, who authorities say is from Denison, Texas, remained in the Natrona County Detention Center on Thursday evening.

It is unclear what, if any, charges Briggs may be facing in Montana.

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