HI man faces multiple charges after high-speed motorcycle chase
By Scott Loftis
A high-speed motorcycle chase that started in Green Forest and ended west of Berryville on Wednesday, Aug. 26, ended with the arrest of a Holiday Island man on multiple charges.
Ratliff Dean Thiebaud, 48, was arrested on felony charges of fleeing, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia as well as misdemeanor counts of third-degree battery, resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license, failure to pay registration fees, no liability insurance and no tail lamp and reflectors. Ratliff was already the subject of three warrants for failure to appear in court on charges of driving on a suspended license, violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law and contempt of court.
A probable cause affidavit written by Green Forest police officer Shaun Helmlinger says Helmlinger and Sgt. Todd Noftsger were parked at a Green Forest convenience store when they saw a westbound motorcycle with no tail light showing. Noftsger began following the motorcycle to conduct a traffic stop but the motorcycle wouldn’t pull over, the affidavit says. Helmlinger began driving west and Noftsger advised the motorcycle had pulled over just west of Carroll County Road 607, the affidavit says.
Helmlinger writes that as Noftsger checked Thiebaud’s record with the county’s central dispatch, Helmlinger saw that Thiebaud had not turned off the motorcycles and had his hands on the handlebars. Dispatch advised that Thiebaud had a suspended driver’s license and multiple warrants, the affidavit says. Noftsger said he was going to arrest Thiebaud and Helmlinger got into his patrol unit in case Thiebaud fled, the affidavit says.
Helmlinger writes that he heard the motorcycle’s engine rev to accelerate and saw Thiebaud speed away, causing Noftsger to roll along the side of the highway.
The ensuing chase reached speeds of around 100 mph in a 60 mph zone, the affidavit says, with Berryville police staging at the city limits. Ratliff drove through the intersection of South Springfield Street and South Main Street at speeds upward of 65 mph then drove through the Berryville Public Square at speeds upward of 60 mph while disregarding stoplights, the affidavit says.
Ratliff slowed to around 40 mph as he continued onto Eureka Avenue, using the opposite lane of traffic to negotiate a turn, the affidavit says. Helmlinger drove around Thiebaud in the fast lane in an attempt to box him in and keep speeds decreasing, but Thiebaud passed Helmlinger’s patrol unit in the opposite lane, forcing oncoming traffic to pull over, according to the affidavit.
Thiebaud continued through Berryville at around 80 mph and then continued west on U.S. Highway 62 as speeds reached around 93 mph, the affidavit says.
At the intersection of U.S. 62 and State Highway 143, the affidavit says, Thiebaud attempted to turn onto Highway 143 and lost control of the motorcycle, laying it down. The motorcycle skidded across the highway and Thiebaud got to a knee with his hands in the air. Carroll County Sheriff’s Office deputy Corey Hall and patrolman Josue Rangel arrived on the scene and assisted Helmlinger in trying to take Thiebaud into custody, the affidavit says. Thiebaud refused multiple times to put his hands behind his back, the affidavit says. The motorcycle had caught fire, according to the affidavit, so Helmlinger, Hall and Rangel helped Thiebaud move away from the area and were able to take him into custody. Thiebaud was checked by emergency responders but refused to go to the hospital, saying he sustained minor injuries to his leg from dropping the motorcycle, the affidavit says.
Helmlinger found a clear baggie containing a green, leafy substance in Thiebaud’s pockets, as well as a metal container with a substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine, the affidavit says. The motorcycle was towed and Thiebaud was transported to the county jail.
Helmlinger spoke with Noftsger at Mercy hospital in Berryville, the affidavit says. Noftsger’s right hand had significant swelling and bruising. He later told Helmlinger his hand was not broken but a doctor believed he might have suffered ligament damage, the affidavit says.
Thiebaud appeared before Carroll County Circuit Judge Dale Ramsey on Friday, Aug. 28. Ramsey found probable charge to cause Thiebaud and set bond at $50,000. Ramsey ordered Thiebaud to appear in Carroll County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5, in Berryville.
As of Monday afternoon, Thiebaud remained in custody in the Carroll County Detention Center.