Two sheriff's patrol cars wrecked in crashes after one is stolen Tuesday night

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office is short two patrol vehicles after both were involved in traffic accidents Tuesday night.

A fleeing suspect allegedly stole and crashed one patrol car near Grandview.

The other collided with a vehicle on Freeman Street in Berryville when a deputy was responding with lights and siren to the first accident.

Injured were Deputy J.C. Nelson and occupants of the other vehicle, James Tyree and Bobbie Brand, both 24 and from Green Forest.

All were transported to St. John's Hospital ---- Berryville for treatment of minor injuries.

Berryville Patrolman Randy Mayfield said Tyree, who was attempting to turn left, caused the accident because he failed to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Also treated for injuries at the hospital was James Russell Clark, 21, of Berryville, who allegedly stole a deputies vehicle and crashed it. He was later booked into the Carroll County Jail, charged with multiple offenses.

Carroll County Sheriff Chuck Medford said there is an investigation underway into the alleged theft of the patrol unit.

"It's an internal investigation," he said, "because of the fact that the keys were left in the car. We're looking into it."

The incident involving Clark allegedly began early in the evening, according to an affidavit filed by the Sheriff's Office.

The affidavit states that Deputy Joe Parks made a traffic stop on the vehicle Clark was driving on Rock House Road at 5:28 p.m. Tuesday. A computer check indicated Clark had a suspended driver's license due to a previous DWI conviction.

As Deputy Parks was attempting to arrest Clark, the affidavit states, Clark fled on foot. During the initial foot pursuit, Parks said he saw Clark fall and after the fall, noticed a bleeding wound on Clark's left arm.

At 7:25 p.m., the affidavit states, deputies went to a County Road 302 address because Clark was reportedly there.

"At about 7:46 p.m., while deputies were away from their units searching for Clark, Clark entered Deputy Daniel Klatt's marked patrol unit and fled the area in it," the affidavit states.

At 7:50 p.m., authorities say, a citizen reported finding a wrecked patrol unit but no officer. It was located on Arkansas Highway 143, near Grandview.

At 9:05 p.m., a resident reportedly telephoned the Sheriff's Office to report that a "guy" had stopped by her house, with a cut on his arm and bloody shirt, to say he was fleeing police and had wrecked a vehicle. She said he was walking toward town on the highway.

All patrol units were notified, authorities say, and Clark was apprehended, after a brief struggle, by county deputies and State Trooper Chad Hipps.

Later that evening, during a post Miranda interview, Clark reportedly told an investigator that he did not know anything about the wrecked vehicle, but allegedly stated "that piece of **** would not take corners."

Clark was charged with resisting arrest, fleeing, driving while intoxicated, driving on a suspended driver's license due to DWI, no seat belt, refusal to submit to chemical test, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, disorderly conduct, fleeing, resisting arrest, and driving on a suspended driver's license due to DWI.

His bond was set at $100,000 Thursday, and he is being held on a parole hold.

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