Bond set in alleged high-speed chase

A $50,000 bond was set Friday for a Pine Bluff man who allegedly hit a sheriff’s department vehicle, then led deputies on a high-speed chase Thursday morning.

Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set the bond after ruling that prosecutors had probable cause to charge James Bell, 42, with felony fleeing and aggravated assault.

The incident started on West 28th Avenue at about 11:20 a.m., Criminal Investigations Sgt. Mickey Buffkin said in a probable-cause affidavit.

Three sheriff’s vehicles were all westbound on West 28th Avenue when a white Lincoln Towncar driven by Bell allegedly ran a stop sign while turning west on 28th Avenue from Magnolia Street. Bell allegedly hit one of the sheriff’s vehicles, then fled at high speed, according to Buffkin.

Buffkin said in the affidavit that deputies chased Bell to Bay Street, where he turned north, and as he approached Miramar Drive, Bell ran a stop sign and turned east onto Miramar Drive with deputies continuing to chase him.

Bell’s vehicle was forced to turn into the parking lot of Scott Systems because a train was blocking the crossing at West 17th Avenue and the track, and sheriff’s cars surrounded the vehicle and were able to take Bell into custody.

Buffkin said in the affidavit that Bell had a “strong odor of intoxicants” and deputies found an open bottle of liquor in Bell’s vehicle.

At the time of the arrest, Bell’s drivers license was suspended, Buffkin said.