Posted by Arkansas 911 News Chief Editor Paul Maddox
All suspects are presumed innocent until determined guilty in court.
Hot Springs Police Dispatch took the report last night for a vehicle that had allegedly been taken from a motel in the area of Central Avenue near Lakeland Drive.
Minutes later, an HSPD Officer notified dispatch over the radio that he was after a small car on Central Avenue allegedly running approximately 70 Mph (35 Mph zone) and had it’s hazard flashers on. The vehicle dipped down into the Mockingbird Street Neighborhood. The officer was able to keep up, caught up and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle.
The driver allegedly told the officer that his lady was having a baby at the hospital. It was about this time that dispatch notified the officer of the report that had just been entered about the car that was taken from the motel. This speeding suspect car fits the description of the missing car. The officer was about to take steps to find out about the baby story when other officers arrived to assist. As soon as the other police car pulled up, the suspect vehicle allegedly sped off and the officers were in pursuit Southbound on Central Avenue.
The pursuit allegedly reached speeds in the range of 90 Mph. This went on for a several seconds. The officer leading the chase terminated it due to safety reasons. They had the suspect’s name and were all set to obtain an arrest warrant for the suspect at a later time. All the officers went back on patrol.
When the pursuit kicked off, I was already heading that way. I was on the MLK Expressway when they stopped the pursuit. I figured that if the guy was bright enough to take a car, drive 70 Mph down Central Avenue and flee from police at 90 Mph – he was bright enough to crash even though no one was still chasing him; my guess……I thought police (or somebody) might locate the suspect vehicle crashed out somewhere down around the Lookout Point area on Hwy. 7 South in that curve. I headed that way.
I was Southbound on Central Avenue at Allen Tillery Chevrolet when I saw a smoke plume rising up in the distance. I got to about EZ Mart at Higdon Ferry Road and was able to tell that there was a fire at the intersection of Central Avenue at Burchwood Bay Road. I went to the fire and saw that it was a car that had been crashed into the woods. It fit the description of the fleeing car that HSPD was after earlier. I called 911 and got everybody started to my location.
My guess, the driver attempted to turn onto Burchwood Bay Road, but was not familiar with this intersection. The car was jammed into the woods. It’s rear bumper was resting on the ground, the front bumper was pointing at the sky. The vehicle was leaning against a tree/branches and the entire engine compartment was on fire. As things on the car burned, fire and melting plastic fell downward and into the passenger compartment. I was yelling, trying to make contact with an occupant. I didn’t see or hear anybody. All I heard was popping, crackling and the fire burning.
HSPD, HSFD and LifeNet all arrived quickly. The police couldn’t go into the car either, due to the very unsafe situation with the car being on fire and kind of dangling in the limbs like that. HSFD put water on the fire and got the best look they could inside the car. They were not able to confirm whether the car was occupied.
The wrecker was called to the scene. The wrecker pulled the car out of the woods. The car was not occupied and nobody was in the woods at this location. HSPD eventually found the alleged driver uninjured and walking on Burchwood Bay Road. The alleged driver was arrested.
I’ll go after the arrest report and mugshot tomorrow.