Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

A Pine Bluff man currently on probation on drug-related charges was arrested on new charges Tuesday after he ran from a sheriff’s deputy following a traffic stop.

Courtney Tripp, 22, was a passenger in a car stopped by Deputy Courtney Kelly at 12th Avenue and Poplar Street.

When Kelly recognized Tripp because there were active warrants for him, Tripp ran, Deputy Prosecutor Maxie Kizer said during a court hearing Wednesday for Tripp.

Tri-County Drug Task Force Sgt. Yohance Brunson reported that Kelly had stopped the car because the driver was not wearing a seat belt, and reported that he knew Tripp from previous encounters with him.

Kizer said after Tripp got out of the car, he started running and while running, reached into his shorts and grabbed two plastic bags, which he dropped, before he was caught about a block away.

Brunson reported that Kelly retraced the path Tripp had run, and recovered the bags. One of them contained a set of digital scales and 1.24 ounces of marijuana and the second bag contained 10 hydrocodone pills.

Kizer said Tripp was “a veteran of the criminal justice system,” having been convicted of two prior drug related offenses and also had a number of failures to appear from district court.

Special Judge Luke Zakrzewski, who was sitting in for Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth, set a $25,000 bond for Tripp after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Tripp said he would hire his own attorney.

The driver of the car, who was not identified in court, was issued a citation for not wearing a seat belt and released.