Two arrested in a muddy situation


Two people were arrested Friday morning, March 20, after trying to evade law enforcement, according to the Independence County Sheriff’s Department.

Court info says Chief Deputy Aaron Moody was traveling on Heber Springs Road when he noticed a Dodge Durango traveling on a private farm road. He also noticed the farmer, whom Moody knows, near the Durango, traveling on the road.

The Durango traveled around the land owner’s vehicle and then onto Heber Springs Road traveling east. Chief Moody tried to stop the vehicle, but did not catch up to it.

Moody said he called a fellow deputy, Narcotics Investigator Johnny Byler, who spotted the Durango on Brushy Road. Byler initiated his emergency lights to signal the driver of the Durango to stop. After turning south onto McHue Road, the Durango stopped.

Byler asked the driver, identified as Aaron Ray Owen, 26, for his driver’s license. Owen told Byler his license had been suspended. Owen could also not produce vehicle papers. Owen told Byler he was fleeing from a farmer who was chasing him for being on his land, according to the report. A passenger, Jenny Lynn Nugent, 22, was also identified. The information noted both Owen and Nugent were covered with mud, and Byler also saw multiple muddy shovels and digging tools lying in the rear compartment of the Durango. Both suspects were taken into custody.

Detective Zach Bailey assisted Byler in transporting the subjects to the county jail. Bailey said when Nugent exited his patrol unit, he saw an eyeglass pouch wedged in the seat. Inside the pouch, the officer discovered a glass smoking device and a baggie of what tested positive as meth, the report said.

Both subjects were placed in jail and face several charges including: possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia, both felonies.

Other charges include criminal trespassing on cropland; criminal mischief for digging into the riverbank, causing bank instability with the damage estimated at $6,000; driving on a suspended driver’s license; no proof of liability insurance; careless driving; and possession of instruments of crime.

All information was turned over to the prosecuting attorney’s office.

In other news from the sheriff’s department, Independence County Sheriff Shawn Stephens said his deputies responded to two domestic violence calls over the weekend. He said charges were filed in one case, and the other is under investigation. He said in the second case, the victim does not want to pursue charges.

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