JONESBORO, Ark. – As the weekend began, an officer found himself in a chase where the suspect seemed to make several dangerous choices.
At 1:30 a.m. Friday morning while on patrol near Highland Drive and South Culberhouse Street, JPD Officer Tanner Huff noticed a 1996 Ford Taurus, dark blue, driven by Leroy Jones, 27, of Jonesboro. The vehicle was driving south on Culberhouse. His report said it swerved over the fog line and completely left the roadway before jerking back onto the road, almost totally losing control. When the officer turned on Culberhouse to stop the vehicle, it turned onto Owens Avenue and accelerated at a high rate of speed.
The officer also turned onto Owens and activated his emergency blue lights but the suspect made no attempt to stop and continued west. He was swerving all over the road and driving in a very risky manner to the public, Huff’s report said. He ran a stop sign at Wood Street and Owens, headed north on Woods and then turned east onto Sims Avenue. He swerved from shoulder to shoulder, the officer reported, before running another stop sign at Sims and Culberhouse.
Following the suspect, they eventually came to Anne Street and Owens Avenue, where the driver door swung open and the suspect bailed out of the vehicle as it was still moving. It crashed into a power pole, coming to a final rest in the intersection. The officer bailed out and began a foot pursuit.
Huff was able to close the distance with the fleeing suspect and told him it was time to stop – or be tased. The suspect stopped, but then turned around and had his left hand in the front pocket of his pants. With law enforcement in NEA having said goodbye to one of their own following a similar foot chase, the officer took no chances.
He drew his gun and commanded Jones to raise his hands in the air. He had to repeat the command, the report said, but Jones thankfully listened. Huff told him to get onto the ground and lay face down, but Jones sat upright and continued facing the officer, the report said. Huff finally was able to get Jones to comply without any further incident.
Searching for reasons why the suspect might stop led authorities to several possibilities. The suspect was on probation, he had no license, no insurance, and the smell of marijuana was in the car with a half smoked joint. The tags on the vehicle also came back as being issued to a different vehicle than his.
Jones was arrested and taken to Craighead County Detention Center. Once at CCDC, he was cited for running a stop sign, no proof of insurance, driving with a suspended license, fleeing on foot, fleeing in a vehicle, possession of a schedule VI substance, reckless driving and fictitious tags. A probation hold was also placed on him.
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