Traffic stop leads to chase, drug arrest

An Arkansas state trooper who stopped a vehicle Tuesday because the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt ended up chasing the driver after the man allegedly ran from his car.

The trooper recovered 3.2 ounces of suspected marijuana after the man was subdued.

Trooper Jerome Sander saw a vehicle driven by Frank Williams, 34, pass him on Interstate 530 at about 3:19 p.m., and according to a probable cause affidavit, Williams was not wearing a seat belt.

During a court hearing Wednesday, Deputy Prosecutor Cymber Gieringer said Sanders stopped the vehicle and Williams jumped out and ran into a wooded area, jumped a fence, then ran about 120 yards before falling to the ground.

Sanders said Williams appeared to be throwing something away before he got up and ran. Williams fell a second time and Sanders said he again appeared to be throwing something, then took off running again.

Gieringer said Williams fell to the ground again and obeyed Sanders’ verbal commands to stay still until Sanders and Cpl. Jeff Preston, who had arrived to assist, could get Williams handcuffed.

Sanders said in the affidavit that troopers searched the area where Williams had run, as well as the spots where he had fallen down, and recovered suspected marijuana and a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana.

A search of the vehicle Williams was driving resulted in the location of a plastic jar with six bags of suspected marijuana and a set of digital scales, according to the affidavit.

Gieringer said Williams is currently on parole and had prior convictions for theft of property in 2001, theft of property and felon in possession of a firearm in 2004; residential burglary, theft of property and theft by receiving in 2007; and residential burglary and theft of property in 2012.

Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney set a $50,000 bond for Williams after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver.

The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Williams.