Berryville man arrested after high-speed chase through Eureka Springs

Friday, June 28, 2019
Paul Michael Valdivieso

By Scott Loftis and Samantha Jones

A high-speed chase through Eureka Springs resulted in the arrest of a Berryville man on multiple charges on Thursday, June 20.

Paul Michael Valdivieso, 32, was booked into the Carroll County Detention Center on charges of robbery, theft of property and third-degree battery, according to the center’s intake log.

A Eureka Springs Police Department incident report indicated that Valdivieso would also be charged with aggravated assault, fleeing, reckless driving and disregarding a stoplight or stop sign.

As of Monday afternoon, Valdivieso was still being held in the county jail. His first judicial appearance was postponed on Friday and again on Monday at his request so that he could confer with an attorney. Valdivieso is scheduled to appear before a judge on Wednesday.

According to the incident report written by ESPD officer Mark Ashby, he overheard officers being dispatched to the eastern city limits at about 12:10 p.m. in reference to a vehicle that had been stolen in the Berryville area and was traveling westbound. Dispatchers advised that the vehicle likely had turned onto Passion Play Road.

Ashby responded to the call and staged near the intersection of Magnetic and North Main streets, while assistant police chief Brian Jones advised that he believed he was behind the vehicle on Magnetic, according to the report.

Ashby writes that he saw a gray Nissan Rogue pass a vehicle stopped at the stop sign at Magnetic and Main and turn northbound onto North Main.

The Rogue then “accelerated to a high rate of speed,” Ashby’s report says, and led officers on a pursuit on Hillside Avenue, Grand Avenue, Dairy Hollow Road, Pivot Rock Road, West Van Buren (Highway 62), the Lake Leatherwood access road, back onto Highway 62, then onto Huntsville Road (Highway 23 South) traveling at high speeds and passing vehicles in no-passing zones. At one point, ESPD officer Franciso Pedraza deployed spike strips at Clear Spring School, the report says, but the Rogue drove off the roadway behind a row of mailboxes to avoid them.

Just after the intersection of Highway 23 South and County Road 305, the Rogue began driving slowly and turning across all lanes of traffic, Ashby’s report says, and eventually turned into a driveway in the 3300 block of Highway 23 South.

The Rogue then drove through a ditch and turned northbound on 23 South, then westbound onto East Van Buren, the report says. It then turned into the parking lot of NAPA Auto Parts at 169 E. Van Buren. After officers blocked the vehicle from exiting the lot, the driver attempted to drive over decorative rocks and struck Jones’ patrol car.

The Rogue then came a stop and Ashby exited his patrol car with his gun drawn and ordered the driver out of the Rogue.

“The driver put the Rogue into reverse and hesitated in the vehicle with his hands in the air,” Ashby’s report says. The driver then got out of the vehicle, laid on the ground and was taken into custody without further incident.

According to the report, Valdivieso advised officers on the scene that he was trying to escape from a gang.

The owner of the Rogue arrived on the scene and was allowed to leave with the vehicle after it was inventoried and photographed, the report says.

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