Cops put the spikes on chase suspect

Monday, March 8, 2004

The Berryville Police Department is the only agency in the county that carries "spike strips" in each patrol car to flatten the tires of high-speed chase vehicles, but that's about to change.

After a hot pursuit from Eureka Springs to Berryville earlier this week that ended with use of Berryville's spike strips, Eureka Springs Police Chief Earl Hyatt said Wednesday he will try to get as many of the devices as he can to cover each shift.

Though the multi-agency chase ended Monday night with no injuries and the suspect was captured, a Eureka Springs patrol car was heavily damaged by the suspect, who rammed the vehicle and later tried to ram other police vehicles.

The pursuit began in Eureka Springs and ended at the Berryville city limits when Berryville officer Robert Bartos deployed his spike strip near Maverick Supply on Highway 62, flattening three tires on the fleeing pickup truck and resulting in the suspect's capture near the golf course.

The suspect, Craig Newberry, 42, of Eureka Springs, was allegedly "out of control" on methamphetamine or other drugs, and "acting crazy" at Valley View Mobile Home Park in Eureka Springs, Hyatt said.

The resulting chase from Eureka toward Berryville involved five or six police and sheriff's vehicles, and Newberry was allegedly trying to swerve to hit the pursuing officers.

Berryville Sgt. Randy Haven said the suspect and the circumstances were exactly the reason the Berryville officers carry spike strips.

"This chase did not get into Berryville, and that's what we're trying to prevent," Haven said. "This was a dangerous situation already, and would get exponentially more dangerous if the pursuit had gotten all the way into our city. We're the only agency that carries the strips, but we have helped the sheriff's office when we could during chases. I think this is the first time the spikes have prevented a pursuit from entering the city"

The hollow-tipped spike strip Bartos deployed flattened enough of the tires on the suspect's vehicle, slowly, so that he wouldn't lose control of his car, Haven said.

Eureka's Chief Hyatt said the chase could have been much more serious if the suspect reached traffic in Berryville, and credited the spike strip as a key to ending the event without injuries.

"We really appreciate the Berryville Police Department and the Sheriff's Office for helping us out," Hyatt said.

The incident began at 8:26 p.m. Monday, when Eureka Springs officer J. Reddick and Sgt. Al Frost were dispatched to the Valley View Mobile Home Park, Hyatt said.

Reddick arrived at the mobile home park at 8:28 and Sgt. Frost was behind him.

Reddick observed Craig Newberry leaving in his Chevrolet S-10 pick-up, Hyatt said, and Reddick activated his overhead emergency lights to signal Newberry to stop. At that time, Newberry accelerated his vehicle and intentionally rammed into Reddick's patrol car, Hyatt said.

Sgt. Frost saw the ramming and then Newberry allegedly veered toward Sgt. Frost's patrol car. Frost was able to avoid the collision by steering away from the suspect.

Newberry fled Valley View and turned east on U.S. Hwy 62. Sgt. Frost activated his emergency lights and siren and initiated the pursuit. Reddick was able to keep his vehicle going so he turned around and followed Frost to give assistance.

During the pursuit, Newberry was traveling at approximately 40 to 50 miles per hour, and swerving back and forth in the road. He was driving on a flat left rear tire, apparently caused as the pursuit started.

Carroll County Sheriff's Office units were notified and positioned themselves to assist along the side of the highway.

As Newberry passed them, he swerved his pick-up toward them as if he was going to hit them, Hyatt said.

The deputies joined in the chase near the Kings River Bridge. One deputy positioned his unit in front of Newberry, the other deputy positioned himself on the left side of Newberry while Sgt. Frost remained behind Newberry. They maintained this positioning in an attempt to box Newberry and force him to stop. Newberry intentionally swerved toward one deputy on his left side on several occasions but the deputy was able to avoid the collision, the report said.

Berryville officer Bartos set up a spike strip in the eastbound lane of U.S. Hwy 62 near Maverick Supply.

The officers forced Newberry to drive through the spike strip, which caused the remaining three tires on his pickup to go flat.

Newberry continued driving until the flat tires caused him to spin.

Hyatt said Newberry came to a stop at the Berryville golf course, and then Newberry allegedly attempted to exit the vehicle to run, and the officers physically restrained him and placed him into custody

While the officers were attempting to restrain Newberry, he allegedly continued to resist and was combative toward the officers. He was then transported to the Eureka Springs Police Department.

The damage to Reddick's patrol car is estimated at $2,203.67.

Eureka Springs District Court Judge Tim Parker set bond at $25,000 for Newberry, who was charged with felony fleeing, felony aggravated assault, first-degree criminal mischief, resisting arrest, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended license for DWI.

He remained in custody at Carroll County Jail after transfer from Eureka Springs later in the week.

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