Dardanelle man pleads guilty to ramming BV officer

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Dardanelle man pleaded guilty to first-degree battery Wednesday after being arrested in September 2016 for allegedly attempting to run over a Berryville police officer.

Christian Matthew Robinson, 43, pleaded guilty to felony charges of battery in the first degree, fleeing and criminal mischief and misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop an attempted capital murder charge against Robinson.

Carroll County Circuit Judge Scott Jackson sentenced Robinson to 25 years in prison with 15 years suspended on the Class Y felony battery charge and six years on both Class D felony counts. The two six-year terms are to run concurrently with each other, the agreement says, and consecutive to the 10-year term, for a total of 16 years.

Robinson will receive credit for 308 days served in the county jail awaiting trial.

Robinson also was ordered to pay $4,166.79 in fines and restitution, including $2,471.79 in restitution to the Berryville Police Department for repairs to the police car he struck.

If he violates the conditions of his suspended sentence, the agreement says Robinson can receive a total sentence of 10 years to life in the state penitentiary and a fine of up to $22,500.

Chief deputy prosecuting attorney Devon Still said she believes the outcome was fair.

“He had no prior criminal history,” she said. “I spoke with the officer involved in the incident, and we decided this was an appropriate result.”

At the time of the arrest, Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos said the officer did not suffer any major injuries in the incident, which began on Sept. 8, 2016, when officers responded to a report of a man "acting weird, driving in circles and screaming at people" in the parking lot of Casey's General Store at 505 W. Trimble.

Bartos said two officers responded with one police car parked in front of Robinson's vehicle and another behind it, in an attempt to block him in. As the officer in front of Robinson's vehicle stepped out of his car, Robinson "floored it" and drove straight at the officer, according to Bartos. The officer attempted to dive back into his car, but wound up being pinned between the door and the frame of the car, according to Bartos.

Robinson fled the scene, Bartos said, and led police on a pursuit that ended when officers used spike strips to stop Robinson's vehicle on U.S. Highway 62 just west of Green Forest.

In the defendant’s statement, Robinson said he hit the door of the police car, which bruised the police officer’s leg. He said he “was intoxicated and did not stop for [the] police.”

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