The Arkansas State Police are investigating an incident in White County late Monday during which a state trooper was dragged by a vehicle, sustaining minor injury, according to Bill Sadler, the state police’s public information officer.
Terry Michael White, 25, of Batesville remained in the White County Detention Center after being arrested at 11:19 p.m. Monday on preliminary charges related to the incident, aggravated assault, fleeing, possession of a controlled substance (suspected methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia and second-degree battery.
State Trooper 1st Class A Austin Lay initiated a traffic stop at 5:49 p.m. along Ralph Reed Road, south of Arkansas Highway 157, because a minivan that White was driving reportedly had an expired license plate.
“White refused to comply with the trooper’s orders to exit the vehicle and White sped way during the traffic stop, dragging TFC Lay along the county road,” Sadler said in a statement.
Lay was able to “extricate himself” from the vehicle and return to his patrol unit to pursue the minivan, which traveled approximately 2 miles before stopping, Sadler said. White and a passenger, according to the statement, fled on foot and were apprehended a short time later.
Jackie W. Foster, 35, of Judsonia also has been preliminarily charged in connection with this incident, Sadler said. A 34-year-old woman and a 17-year-old male who were passengers in the minivan were questioned by police. The criminal investigation of the incident is continuing.
Lay was examined at a hospital and released later.
A county resident who lives just outside of Judsonia said the pursuit led to him getting involved because one of the suspects fled onto his property.
“I was sitting at home out in the backyard. We had a little bonfire going and we were just sitting out watching the fire when we seen the cops going up and down by the house, all over,” Jamie Schmidt said. “My wife said, ‘I think I’m going to lock our house up,’ so she went to lock it up, and I said, ‘While you’re in there grab my gun.’ She got my gun and brought it out there and I put it in my pocket.
“About 10 or 15 minutes later, I told her that I was going to go out to the road and try to see what’s going on because I see a lot of blue lights down the road. I was looking down there at the blue lights and saw somebody across the street back behind somebody’s house and they took off running toward my house.”
He said the individual crossed the highway and “soon as they hit my yard, I hollered at him two or three times to stop.”
“They kept running behind my house where my family and grandkids were at,” Schmidt said. “I run around the other side of the house and as I run around, I pull my gun out and he turned to run around my house and he ran right into my gun. He was right there point blank.
“He started hollering, ‘Hey hey no don’t shoot.’ He said ‘I’m in trouble,’ and I said, ‘Yeah you’re in trouble all right.’ I said ‘What are you doing in my yard?’ He said, ‘I’m going down here to my uncle’s’ and he said his [uncle’s] name was Kevin. I said, ‘No, you’re not, you’re lying because that’s my family who lives down there. There’s nobody down there named Kevin.’ He said, ‘Well, that’s the way I’m going,’ and I said, ‘Oh, no, you’re not.’ I said, ‘You’re going that way ‘and I pointed across the road and told him to hit the road.”
Schmidt said after the individual ran off, “we called the cops.”
“They come back here and were looking for him. They said, ‘What does he look like?’ and I told him and said he went across the road,” Schmidt said. “I said he ran off into the woods somewhere. The cops were all over looking for him and about 10, 15 minutes went by and I see him come running back by across that field, across the road and ran right back up here to my fence, and I guess he called somebody to come get him.”
He said a vehicle pulled up to his house and he “reached out and grabbed him by the back of his shirt and held him and then he started hollering at me that I was going to get in trouble because he was a juvenile, not quite 18 yet. I ended up letting him go and he jumped in that truck.”
“I didn’t know it was here to pick him up. The person who pulled up in the truck was still behind the wheel. That boy run and got into the truck,” Schmidt said. “I grabbed him and drug him back out of the truck and then he said, ‘I’m leaving. I’m going.’
“I thought for a moment and asked that boy in the truck, ‘Do you know this guy?’ and he said ,‘Yeah, I’m here to pick him up.’ I said, ‘He ain’t going nowhere.’ I said, ‘I don’t know what you all got going on out here but the cops are on the way here. He’s going to wait here for the cops and we’re going to find out what the [expletive] is going on.”
Schmidt said he got a call from the state police Tuesday asking him for more information.