Pine Bluff man accused of fourth DWI offense


A Pine Bluff man who is accused of fleeing from a state police roadblock Friday night will have to post a $100,000 cash-only bond to be released from the county detention center while prosecutors prepare felony charges against him.

On Monday, Pine Bluff Distinct Judge John Kearney set the bond after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge Johnny Ray Miller, 52, with fourth-offense driving while intoxicated and felony fleeing.

Arkansas State Trooper Zac Varnell reported that he and other troopers had set up a sobriety checkpoint at Princeton Pike and Bryant Street at 9:59 p.m. Friday and that at 10:18 p.m., a black Jeep Cherokee driven by Miller approached the checkpoint.

Varnell reported that when he asked Miller for his driver’s license, Miller reportedly said it was in the back of the vehicle, and when Varnell told Miller to pull his vehicle into a nearby parking lot, Miller reportedly fled, accelerating through a four-way stop sign.

Miller reportedly ran a number of stop signs while being chased through the Dollarway area before leaving the road and driving on a muddy trail into a heavily wooded area.

Varnell reported that four or five minutes later, he heard the Jeep’s engine and the vehicle left the wooded area and again led troopers, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy and a Pine Bluff police officer on a chase, which ended when the Jeep again went into a wooded area off Industrial Drive.

After 15 to 20 minutes, Varnell reported that he and Trooper Ryan Felton found the Jeep and took Miller, who was behind the steering wheel, into custody.

Miller reportedly tried to kick out the window of a police car before he was taken to jail, and after he arrived there, complained of chest pains and was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

Varnell reported that Miller tried to sneak out of the hospital while he was waiting to be examined. He was taken back into custody after being examined by doctors.

In addition to the felony allegations, Miller was cited for a number of misdemeanor traffic violations.

A female who was in the vehicle with Miller was released without charges.

Kearney appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Miller and told him to come back to court Jan. 14.