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05/08/2014

MAN ARRESTED FOLLOWING PURSUIT AND MANHUNT

Michael F. Strange

Disabled vehicle

     A rural Mountain Home man, 23 year old MICHAEL FREDRICK STRANGE, was arrested this afternoon on numerous charges following a vehicle pursuit initiated by Sheriff’s Sergeant Michael Holland at approximately 10:57 AM today.

     Sheriff’s Investigators were trying to locate MICHAEL STRANGE in conjunction with the theft of a motor vehicle that occurred in the early hours Wednesday morning from the Auto Credit lot on Highway 62 West of Mountain Home.  Surveillance video footage was used to identify MICHAEL STRANGE as having stolen a 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck from that car lot and also entered into two other vehicles and stole items therefrom, including a compound bow.

     Investigators recovered the stolen vehicle yesterday at STRANGE’s address on Marquis Drive in the rural Mountain Home area, however MICHAEL STRANGE had not been taken into custody.  This morning, Sheriff’s Sergeant Michael Holland was stationed in the area of STRANGE’s residence.  Sergeant Holland observed STRANGE drive by him in a 1998 Ford pickup truck and pulled behind to follow.  Once Sergeant Holland activated his emergency blue lights, MICHAEL STRANGE accelerated to speed away, going North on Kingsberry Drive, crossing over State Highway 178 E, then continuing North bound on Buzzard Roost Cutoff to the intersection of East Highway 62 Business near Walmart.  Speeds were in the 60 mph range.  Other Sheriff’s Deputies began moving to attempt to intercept STRANGE.

     From there, STRANGE turned East on Highway 62 B, ran two red lights, entered oncoming traffic nearly causing a collision, then turned right (South) on Baxter CR 390 that runs behind Lowes.  Once on CR 390, STRANGE began fish-tailing on the dirt road and he began throwing clothing and other items out of his vehicle.  The pursuit continued to the intersection of State Highway 178 and turned East.  The pursuit then continued to a point near the intersection of State Highway 178 E and Slick Rock Road.  STRANGE then drove through the ditch line, off the roadway to the right, and into the yard of a private residence.  At this point, his vehicle became disabled.  STRANGE exited his vehicle and fled on foot into the woods to the East.  A private citizen observed this activity and began chasing STRANGE on foot.  After a short distance, STRANGE told the civilian chasing him that he was armed and to back off.  The citizen did not see a firearm, but he did discontinue the foot chase.

     The Sheriff’s Office sought assistance from the canine tracking team with the Arkansas Department of Corrections – North Central Unit, and they arrived on scene at approximately 11:50 AM.  They quickly began tracking STRANGE, first to the West toward Mountain Home, then back the other direction.  MICHAEL STRANGE was located by the tracking team approximately ¼ mile from his abandoned vehicle and taken into custody without further incident at approximately 12:31 PM.  A firearm was not found on his person, however drug paraphernalia was.

     MICHAEL STRANGE has been taken to the Baxter County Detention Center where he is being held on charges of:

Fleeing from Officer by vehicle – Felony
Reckless Driving – Misdemeanor
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Misdemeanor
Littering – Misdemeanor
Theft of Property (automobile) – Felony
Breaking or Entering (2 counts) – Felonies
Theft of Property – Misdemeanor

     STRANGE is being held in lieu of $50,000 bond, and he will appear in the Circuit Court to answer on May 15th.  There were approximately eight deputies and three canine handlers involved in the pursuit and/or subsequent manhunt.

/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff

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