Tried to run over deputies: Plea agreement nets 16-year sentence

Friday, April 6, 2018

A Fayetteville man who was charged with attempted capital murder after trying to run over two Carroll County Sheriff’s Office deputies in February 2017 pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Allen Closner, 26, entered the plea in Carroll County Circuit Court. In an agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree battery and prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges of attempted capital murder, fleeing, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. Prosecutors recommended that Closner be sentenced to 32 years in prison, with 16 years suspended, and Circuit Judge Scott Jackson accepted the recommendation. Closner will receive credit for 410 days served in the county jail while awaiting trial and also was ordered to pay a total of $1,420 in court costs, fines and fees.

The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred on Feb. 16, 2017.

According to an affidavit from the sheriff’s office, deputies were securing a crime scene on County Road 905, off Arkansas Highway 103 south of Green Forest, when a vehicle entered the driveway. Cpl. Michael Voigt attempted to stop the vehicle but it drove past him, Voigt writes in the affidavit.

Reserve Deputy Kristopher Worrall also signaled the vehicle to stop, the affidavit says. Instead the driver accelerated toward Worrall, who was able to jump out of the way and narrowly avoid being struck, according to the affidavit.

Sgt. Shaun Helmlinger then drew his weapon and ordered the driver to stop, the affidavit says.

“Allen stopped the vehicle for five to 10 seconds and was about 10 feet away staring directly at Sgt. Helmlinger,” the affidavit says. “Allen then accelerated spinning his tires and leaving black marks on the gravel before striking Sgt. Helmlinger around the knees with the front bumper, causing his upper body to whip back, his knees to bend backwards, then his upper body to slam violently onto the hood of the vehicle. Sgt. Helmlinger gave Allen one last command to stop the vehicle while lying across the hood at gunpoint.”

Voigt and Worrall pulled Closner from the vehicle and he continued to fight with them before they eventually were able to handcuff him, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit says Helmlinger went directly to the emergency room after the incident. The sheriff’s office said at the time that he was expected to be off work for several days recuperating. No further information about his injuries was available.

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