Walnut Ridge officer injured chasing Hoxie suspect

HOXIE, Ark. – When a Hoxie Police Department officer visited the home of a local man to serve an eviction notice, the situation spiraled out of control, ending in an injured Walnut Ridge officer.

Hoxie PD was going to a house to evict someone from a residence Saturday morning, according to Walnut Ridge Police Chief Chris Kirksey. The Hoxie officer went to the door at the home and advised man, Melvin Lewis, Jr., 22, of Hoxie, that he needed to leave. Lewis, also on suspended imposition of sentence from a judge, was advised he needed to go to the sheriff’s office and take a drug test, as well, police said.

Soon after, that man and his girlfriend, ran from Hoxie police, authorities told NEA Report.

Hoxie called for backup from a Walnut Ridge unit. Patrolman Bryan Archer responded and shortly thereafter, the suspect was in custody once again.

But the story doesn’t end. 

“They catch the guy and my officer had him in handcuffs and the guy took off running with his handcuffs,” Kirksey said. “Shortly thereafter, the suspect was spotted again, slipping the cuffs around his back to his front.”

wrpdpolice2When the WRPD officer caught up to the suspect, a Hoxie city employee had spotted him and was trying to distract or keep him at bay until the police were able to get there. He was swinging at the city employee with the steel cuffs on – creating a dangerous striking weapon. However, the WR officer was able to detain the suspect – but at a cost.

“In the process, the suspect was actively resisting,” Kirksey said. “My officer twisted his knee to the point that he couldn’t get up. Ambulance had to take him to the ER to be treated. He can walk, but it is really tender.”

Lewis is facing charges of fleeing, interfering with a government operation, third degree battery, violation of a suspended imposition of sentence and resisting arrest. He remains in Lawrence County Jail.

Kirksey believes if the two towns merged, just as College City and Walnut Ridge officially did on January 1 from a 2016 vote, it would create a more efficient police force without the need for cross-departmental intervention on a regular basis.

“If the towns were to come together, and consolidate into one town, I believe it would be a better quality of life for citizens in one town,” Kirksey said. “We would have a fully staffed police department.”

Walnut Ridge and Hoxie coming together might put two or three officers per shift on duty, Kirksey said.

A 2016 story in the Jonesboro Sun surveyed 50 Hoxie and 50 Walnut Ridge residents and residents from both communities supported coming together by a margin greater than two to one.

A study at the final 2016 Walnut Ridge City Council meeting presented by Alderman Jon Walter showed many savings could be made but there would also be some costs associated with bringing the quality of life in both communities to a matching level.

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  1. Walnut Ridge City Council agenda for Monday, Jan. 16 – NEA Report

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