Hot Springs man arrested after allegedly fleeing from deputy

Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Norman Hardesty

By Robert Cox

A Hot Springs man is facing a multitude of charges — including four felonies — after an incident in which, hours after allegedly being involved in a stabbing incident in Boone County, he is accused of attempting to flee in a truck with a stolen license plate, nearly striking a Carroll County deputy sheriff in the process.

Norman D. Hardesty, 26, is charged with two counts of felony aggravated assault, felony theft by receiving and felony fleeing, along with a number of misdemeanors ranging from reckless driving, failure to stop or yield, and driving on a suspended license to no turn signal and littering.

Hardesty appeared before Carroll County Judge Dale Ramsey on Dec. 8. Ramsey found probable cause to charge Hardesty, who is scheduled to appear in Carroll County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. on Jan. 4.

According to a probable cause affidavit written by the arresting officer, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office deputy Anthony Scotti, at approximately 8:57 p.m. on Dec. 8, Hardesty was spotted in a silver Dodge pickup at the Red X Express gas station in Alpena.

Scotti, who said he observed smoke coming from the truck’s engine, checked the license plate and found the truck had been reported stolen by the Harrison Police Department and called for backup.

While waiting, Scotti observed a male in the driver’s seat and a female on the outside of the vehicle pumping gas. Before backup arrived, the man inside the truck started it up and drove around to back where he parked in an open space.

“I initiated my emergency lights and ordered the driver to shut the truck off and keep his hands where I could see them,” Scotti wrote. “The driver rolled the window down, looked back at me and turned back around and began reversing backwards towards my patrol car, almost hitting the front of my car.”

At that point, the driver — later identified as Hardesty — fled the scene at a high rate of speed up WPA Road with Scotti in pursuit. The Boone County Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas State Police were notified and assisted in the pursuit and capture.

With his speed approaching 65 mph, the fleeing driver turned onto Cantwell Road, nearly striking another vehicle, before turning onto U.S. Highway 62/412, spilling several items from the bed of the truck. Seconds later, after a turn onto Lick Branch Road, the hood of the truck released and came to rest against the windshield, forcing the driver to stick his head out the window to see where he was going.

The truck ran off the road and drove through a resident’s yard near Ayrs Road, but the driver managed to regain control and turn onto Ayrs before once again running off the road and striking a tree.

After the collision, Scotti reported that he and another deputy approached the vehicle, ordering the driver to shut the vehicle off and surrender.

Instead, he fled on foot. He was later discovered hiding in the nearby woods by deputies from Boone County and identified as Hardesty.

Meanwhile, the female passenger, later identified as Brittany Wheeler, was referred to the Carroll County prosecuting attorney pending possible charges for theft by receiving and obstruction of government operations.

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