DEPUTY INJURED AFTER BEING STRUCK BY FLEEING MOTORCYCLIST
Austin D. Potts
A Baxter County Sheriff's Deputy was injured early Sunday morning, September 6th, after being struck in the leg by a man on a motorcycle who was fleeing from officers.
The pursuit began at approximately 12:25 AM Sunday when Sheriff's Deputy Craig Kocka observed a motorcycle pulling out from a closed access road in the Pigeon Creek area. He turned around on the motorcycle and noticed also that it did not have a working tail lamp. The motorcyclist turned South bound on State Highway 201 back toward Mountain Home. Deputy Kocka attempted to make a traffic stop, but the operator of the motorcycle refused to stop. He continued South bound at approximately 65 miles per hour with Deputy Kocka behind.
The operator then turned left on Baxter CR 28. Corporal Craig Gates was in that area and set up a road block at the intersection of Baxter CR 28 and Jade Lane. As the motorcyclist approached the road block, he stopped temporarily. He refused commands to get off the motorcycle and surrender himself and was trying to maneuver the motorcycle around Corporal Gates. Deputy Kocka subsequently used a Taser on the operator, but without results.
The operator then accelerated the motorcycle to continue fleeing at which time he struck Corporal Gates in the lower extremity causing him to fall to the ground.
A short time later, Deputy Tony Beck observed the fleeing motorcyclist as he was coming off Baxter CR 28 and turning West on U. S. Highway 62 Business headed back into Mountain Home. Mountain Home Police Department officers joined the pursuit, which went through Mountain Home, until the motorcycle was lost in a subdivision near Baxter Regional Medical Center. A short time later, a man on foot was found near the hospital parking garage who matched the description of the operator of the motorcycle. This person was detained, and he provided a false name and false identification information to the officers. The Taser probes were still attached to the clothing that the man was wearing. The motorcycle itself was later found leaned up against a utility trailer near the parking garage. The motorcycle was registered to AUSTIN DOUGLAS POTTS of Oakland. Additional statements from a third party confirmed the identification of the operator and person being detained as AUSTIN POTTS. Driver licensing information indicated that POTTS has a restricted license that requires an interlock device and that he is also on probation with Arkansas Community Corrections.
Corporal Gates was treated for his injury at Baxter Regional Medical Center and released.
AUSTIN DOUGLAS POTTS, 23 years of age, was arrested and taken to the Baxter County Detention Center where he was booked on charges of:
Battery in the Second Degree - Felony
Aggravated Assault - Felony
Fleeing by Vehicle - Felony
Reckless Driving - Misdemeanor
Resisting Arrest - Misdemeanor
Violation of Restricted License - Misdemeanor
No Tail Lamp - Misdemeanor
Probation Violation - Felony
POTTS is being held in lieu of $25,000 bond on the new charges but has a no bond hold for the probation violation. POTTS will appear before the Circuit Court to answer on September 17th.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff