Spike strips, K9, taser and batons end 100+ MPH chase

JONESBORO, Ark. – A wild high-speed chase as described by officers ended Tuesday morning with a non-compliant suspect feeling the full brunt of NEA’s largest police force. 

At about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, October 3, Officer Anthony Zaffarano was watching the intersection of Magnolia and Patrick when he heard a vehicle approaching at what he described as a high rate of speed. He noticed headlights coming from the east on Magnolia Road, traveling westbound. The vehicle was a black 1997 Chevrolet pickup driven by its owner, David W. Hotchkiss, 51, of Jonesboro. At the intersection, Zaffarano said the driver abruptly stopped and turned left on Patrick Street, heading south. The vehicle appeared to Zaffarano to have no tail-lights. He began his pursuit but by the time he turned onto Patrick Street, he could no longer see the vehicle.

Hotchkiss. Courtesy CraigheadSO.org

With the streets mostly empty in the early morning hours, Zaffarano accelerated to 70 MPH in a 40 MPH zone to try to catch up to the vehicle. Only when he saw brake lights was he able to catch up enough to it. The suspect vehicle had stopped because of another car in front of it. When Zaffarano activated his emergency lights, the truck continued south through Belt Street.

Running off the road at points, the pursuit continued until it neared Matthews Avenue, under the Red Wolf overpass. That was where Officers Jonathan Wood and Nathan Coleman deployed two sets of spike strips. Both connected. The vehicle came to a stop on Red Wolf Boulevard on the west side of the road, just south of Stallings.

“I got on Officer Morgan’s speaker from his patrol vehicle and gave several orders to the driver to exit the vehicle,” reported Zaffarano. “The driver would only shake his head, ‘No.'”

Officers approached the vehicle and broke the passenger side window with a baton Zaffarano held cover on the driver. Even with a window busted, the driver refused to exit the vehicle. K9 Argus joined into the fray, jumping through the passenger window  Once the window was broken, I again gave orders to the driver to exit the vehicle. The driver would not follow my orders. Officer Morgan deployed his K9, Argus, into the vehicle through the passenger window in an attempt to apprehend the driver but he reportedly fought with the K9, so Morgan pulled the dog from the vehicle.

As officers busted the drivers side window, a taser was deployed. Stiffening up as electricity coursed through his muscles, the driver was subdued. He was placed under arrested and identified at this point in time.

Due to his injuries from the taser and K9, the man was taken to an area medical facility for treatment, the report indicated. Once he arrived at St. Bernard’s, Hotchkiss refused to submit to a blood test. A search warrant was signed by Judge Brent Davis authorizing the retrieval of his blood. ER personnel obtained two vials without incident.

He faces a number of charges, including misdemeanors for DWI (unlawful act), refusal to submit, reckless driving, fleeing, and resisting arrest. He was booked into Craighead County Detention Center just before 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

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