Driver jailed after striking signs and vehicles in sheriff’s department parking lot; suspect previously arrested on huffing-related charges

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A Batesville man has been charged with first-degree criminal mischief after driving his truck off the roadway and striking three department vehicles in the parking lot of the Independence County Sheriff’s Department, according to court documents.

The investigating officer with the Batesville Police Department, Jordan Akins, determined the driver of the Chevrolet Silverado, Robert S. Cherry, 47, was driving east on Myers Avenue, Friday, March 15, and left the roadway as he passed in front of the sheriff’s department’s parking lot, according to the affidavit of probable cause for arrest.

The truck continued straight across the parking lot driveway before crossing into a grassy area where it struck and knocked down several signs. Cherry continued to drive,  according to the court documents, and then next struck multiple department vehicles and another sign in the process. He eventually stopped the truck and tried to drive in reverse. While doing so, Cherry struck another vehicle and finally came to a stop against that car.

The affidavit noted as Akins approached the crashed vehicle and its operator, the police officer noticed three cans of air duster on the ground next to the open driver’s door.

Cherry was placed under arrest by Akins on suspicion of driving while intoxicated — drugs, according to the affidavit.

Cherry has previously been arrested four times by the Batesville Police Department and at least two times by the Independence County Sheriff’s Department on charges related to intoxication from “huffing” — or inhaling — air duster, according to the court information.

Akins noted, in total, Cherry struck and damaged three vehicles and three signs during the incident. The damage to the vehicles was estimated to be $5,804.11 while there was $750 in estimated repairs due to damages to the three signs.

Akins also noted in the court information that Cherry “knowingly put the safety of the public and its property in danger when this incident occurred.”

The incident was captured on surveillance video and eyewitnesses also noted they observed Cherry in the vehicle as they approached it, according to the affidavit.

Cherry was placed on a $5,000 bond.

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