Two sheriff's vehicles totaled during high-speed chase
CARROLL COUNTY -- Two Sheriff's office vehicles were totaled early Saturday morning in a high-speed chase gone awry.
The deputies were assisting Berryville police officers in their pursuit of a stolen vehicle piloted by a 13-year-old runaway boy, authorities said.
The car was stolen from Atkins police reports show. However, authorities would not say where the boy was from. He is not being identified because he is a juvenile.
Berryville Detective Robert Bartos said the chase began in Berryville just after 1 a.m. when officer Greg Noftsger saw a white Mercury Grand Marquis with no headlights turn from Freeman Avenue onto U.S. Highway 62.
When Noftsger attempted to pull the car over, Bartos said, the suspect accelerated into the oncoming lane. A high-speed chase ensued.
In addition to Carroll County sheriff's deputies, Berryville officers received assistance from Green Forest. City Police Chief John Bailey said his officers set up a spike strip just west of town.
They were still laying the strip down when the suspect came flying down the highway. He swerved to avoid the strip and nearly ran over an officer in the process, Bailey said.
A second spike strip was deployed at the intersection of Highway 62 and Springfield Street. This attempt was successful. As the suspect drove over the spikes, one of his tires blew.
He lost control of the vehicle about 1 mile east of town, at a bend in the road known as Mile Corner.
It was not clear why or at what point in the chase the two sheriff's vehicles wrecked. Accident reports were not available from State Police before press deadline late Monday.
Sheriff Bob Grudek said one of the cars had flipped. However, neither officer was seriously injured, he said. One sustained minor abrasions. Both officers were taken to Mercy Hospital and shortly released.
One of the wrecked cruisers was a K-9 unit, Grudek said. He reported that a dog involved in the wreck was also in good health.
Though man and beast were safe, the machines did not fare so well. Grudek said both vehicles were "totaled." However, insurance should cover the cost. Grudek added that the county would save additional money thanks to coverage changes implemented this year.
Those changes in the office's insurance policy mean the cost of damaged equipment inside the vehicles will now also be covered, he said, whereas the only thing covered under the old policy was damage to the vehicles themselves.
Grudek said enough vehicles were still available that the wreck would not result in fewer officers on the street. However, he said the office did not have a spare K-9 unit.
"Our one K-9 units is going to be out of commission for a while," he said.
The driver of the vehicle was arrested on charges of vehicle theft.