Garland County Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy Dodge was working DWI Enforcement on Highway 70 West on November 24, 2019, when he attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a tan Chevrolet truck for alleged improper display of vehicle registration (license plate light not working). Dep. Dodge turned on the blue lights and the truck pulled into the Dollar General Store at North Moore Road.
As soon as the truck got into the parking lot, it allegedly sped off westbound on Highway 70 at a high rate of speed to Sunshine Road. Dep. Dodge chased the truck all the way to the other end of North More Road where it turned onto DeLee Place, went to a house and parked. Where the driver, Probationer Antonio Jermaine Simuel, 31, of Highland Park Street in Hot Springs, allegedly jumped out and fled on foot into the woods, prompting a manhunt in the immediate area.
Other Garland County Sheriff’s Patrol Units and Arkansas State Troopers swarmed the area and set up a perimeter in order to contain the alleged fleeing probationer.
GCSO K-9 Team Dep. Strickland/Sandy arrived quickly and set out to track the suspect. They tracked the suspect for approximately 30 minutes before deputies heard a disturbance through the woods. They went to investigate and found that civilians had the suspect detained at gunpoint on a nearby property. The armed civilians went to lock a truck and found the suspect on the rear floorboard inside the vehicle. Deputies arrested the probationer.
Deputies spoke to the owner of the suspect vehicle. The owner allegedly advised that the suspect borrowed the vehicle “to do a job”. Allegedly according to the vehicle owner, during the pursuit, the suspect called him to say that he was currently in a high speed pursuit with police. A very short time later, the vehicle pulled into his driveway with deputies chasing and the driver ran on foot. He also allegedly told deputies that his hunting rifle should be in the vehicle. The rifle was found inside the truck.
A female passenger, in the truck at the time of the pursuit, allegedly told deputies that the probationer knew the gun was in the truck. So, rather than pull over for the traffic stop, he fled back to his boss’s house.
Probationer Simuel is charged with Felony Fleeing, Felony Breaking Or Entering and Felony Possession Of Firearms By Certain Persons with a bond amount totaling $7,500.
Convicted felons are prohibited by law from possessing guns in Arkansas. Probationer Simuel was on probation at the time of this episode. His prior convictions include: Felony Theft, Felony Theft By Receiving and Felony Possession Of Meth.