Story by Arkansas 911 News Writer Amanda Goodman
All suspects are presumed innocent until determined guilty in court.
Hot Springs Police Officer Davis reports the following:
On 08/17/19 at approximately 1822 hours I, Off Davis 141, attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a white Toyota 4Runner displaying expired tags in the 2300 block of Central Avenue by activating my overhead lights.
The vehicle was occupied by two white males. The driver was later identified as James Simpson, and the front seat passenger was later identified as Joshua Gross.
The vehicle continued South on Central Avenue, then pulled into the North parking lot next to Oaklawn Street. After pulling into the lot, the white Toyota started slowing down then accelerated West through the parking lot onto Oaklawn Street. I then activated my siren in addition to lights, the vehicle continued North on Central Avenue.
The pursuit was terminated at the intersection of Central and Grand Avenue due to the Toyota’s reckless driving, disregarding stop signs, speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, weaving in and out of the turn lane, and causing several near head on collisions with other motorists. The driver was operating the vehicle in a manner creating substantial danger for death or serious injury.
Officers relocated the Toyota at Silver Street and Malvern Avenue, where they attempted to stop the vehicle again. The vehicle continued to flee to the intersection of Crescent Street and Silver Street where the driver and front passenger exited the vehicle and fled on foot while the vehicle was still in motion.
The vehicle finally came to a stop by striking a tree at the intersection of Silver and Maiden Street. The driver, Simpson, fled East on foot tot the area of the 600 block of Crescent Street. The passenger, Gross, fled West on foot, to the area of Silver and Crescent Streets.
Park Service arrived with a K9 and a track was conducted in the area where the passenger was last seen entering a wooded area. After a short track, Gross was located and taken into custody. Officers were able to locate Simpson inside a residence on the 600 block of Crescent and took him into custody.
An ACIC check of Gross returned with a valid parole warrant out of Arkansas, and Simpson had a valid FTA out of Garland County.
A vehicle inventory for tow was conducted on the white Toyota 4Runner. During the inventory, Officers located a white backpack in the back seat, on the driver side. Inside the white backpack, Officers located and black handbag, containing a large clear baggie and two small red baggies with black writing. Inside the baggies was a clear crystal like substance that appeared to be methamphetamine.
Also located inside the white backpack were several empty red baggies, an empty syringe, set of digital scales, and North American .22 caliber revolver loaded with five rounds in the cylinder.
In the front passenger side floor board, Officers located a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380 caliber loaded with six rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber.
The total combined weight of the three baggies containing a clear crystal like substance was 31.7g. A portion of the crystal like substance was field tested and had a positive reaction for the presumptive identification of methamphetamine.
James Simpson had a felony conviction out of Garland County on 09/15/18 for Possession Of Controlled Substance and Joshua Gross had a felony conviction out of Garland County on 9/22/17 for Possession Of Controlled Substance, Possession Of Firearm By Certain Person, and Fleeing.
James Simpson was also given a citation (1A07578990) (1A07578991) (1A07578992) for several traffic related charges.
Mr. Simpson and Parolee Gross were both arrested and transported to the Garland County Detention Center for processing.
Mr. Simpson is charged with Felony Simultaneous Possession Of Drugs And Firearms, Felony Possession Of Methamphetamine Or Cocaine With The Purpose To Deliver, Felony Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia x2, Felony Fleeing, Felony Firearm Possession By Certain Persons, and Failure To Appear, with a bond amount totaling $23,500.
Parolee Gross is charged with Felony Simultaneous Possession Of Drugs And Firearms, Felony Possession Of Methamphetamine Or Cocaine With The Purpose To Deliver, Felony Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia x2, Felony Fleeing, Felony Firearm Possession By Certain Persons, and a parole hold placed with a bond amount totaling $22,500.