Authorities: Independence County parolee jailed after foot pursuit that injures ASP special agent; meth found

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A special agent with the Arkansas State Police suffered a broken leg during a foot pursuit of an Independence County parolee on Tuesday, according to documents filed with the Independence County Circuit Court.

Officials from the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Arkansas State Police, the Batesville Police Department, and the Independence County Sheriff’s Department were assisting Arkansas Community Corrections on a home visit to Rodney Monroe Lee (pictured below), 41, per his Arkansas Parole Board search waiver.

Rodney Monroe Lee

Upon arrival at the residence on Camp Tahkodah Road, the officers immediately came into contact with Lee in his driveway. Court records say Arkansas State Police Special Agent Greg Tebbetts began to search Lee’s pants pockets per the waiver, and that during the search, Tebbetts located a pill bottle in one of Lee’s pockets that contained a plastic baggie of suspected methamphetamine.

While Tebbetts was examining the baggie, the affidavit of probable cause for arrest says Lee pushed away from the special agent and began fleeing on foot towards the woods. Tebbetts and Batesville Police Narcotics Investigator Dillon Sallas began pursuing Lee, shouting commands for him to stop running.

When Lee ran down a steep hill near the wood line, Tebbetts followed in pursuit but then fell going down the incline, severely injuring his leg. After checking on Tebbetts, Sallas ran after Lee and apprehended him.

Sallas then transported Tebbetts to the White River Medical Center emergency room where the special agent was admitted to prepare for surgery on his left leg after bones were shown to be broken.

At the Lee residence, 16th Judicial District Special Agent Geoffrey Watts waited with Lee and Independence County Sheriff’s Department Detective Zach Bailey when Watts observed a camouflage bag in the front yard. After opening the bag, the affidavit says Watts discovered multiple plastic bags, each containing “a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine,” along with digital scales and empty plastic baggies commonly used in packaging illegal drugs for sale.

After being advised of his Miranda rights, Lee admitted the bag belonged to him, according to the court documents. He was then taken to the Independence County Detention Center without further incident.

A Nartec field test kit confirmed all the baggies containing the suspected meth tested positive for the drug, according to the affidavit. And utilizing the digital scales that were discovered, all of the plastic baggies containing the methamphetamine were weighed. The meth ultimately weighed greater than 10 grams, but less than 200 grams, the affidavit noted.

After a review of Lee’s criminal history, it was revealed Lee had previously been convicted of more than four felonies. With Tuesday’s arrest, Lee is facing four felony counts: possession of 10 grams or more but less than 200 grams of meth with the purpose to deliver; possession of drug paraphernalia with the purpose to inject, ingest, or inhale meth; possession of drug paraphernalia with the purpose to analyze meth; and fleeing on foot, which resulted in serious physical injury to a law enforcement officer.

If convicted, Lee will be sentenced as a habitual offender.

He is being held on a $100,000 bond.

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