Man arrested after high-speed pursuit, then released due to COVID-19 concerns


A Locust Grove-area man was taken into custody and then released due to COVID-19 concerns after a high-speed chase on Mountain View Road in Independence County Tuesday afternoon.

According to the incident report, Independence County Sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Spohr was on patrol in the area when a Chrysler Crossfire was clocked by his radar going 92 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone. When Spohr activated his emergency lights, the Chrysler sped up — and the pursuit was on.

Patrolling further down Mountain View Road was Arkansas State Trooper Brandon Trewyn, who spotted the Chrysler and joined the chase, the report said.

After turning into 2380 Mountain View Rd., the operator of the Chrysler began driving the vehicle toward the woods. The driver, identified by authorities as James Robert Simmons, 44, then stopped the vehicle, jumped out, and began running into the woods with Trewyn and Spohr pursuing him on foot, the report said. After the officers commanded Simmons to stop, he eventually did and was taken into custody.

The report said that en route to the Independence County Jail, Simmons told the officers that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Spohr noted in the report Simmons was then released from custody due to his test results.

The deputy said charges Simmons will face at a later date include: speeding, driving left-of-center, fleeing in a vehicle, driving on a suspended driver’s license, no proof of liability insurance, no use of a seat belt, and fleeing on foot.

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