The quick actions of one officer with the Conway Police Department resulted in another receiving items that were stolen from his residence earlier.
According to La Tresha Woodruff, public information officer for the Conway Police Department, officer Matthew Hugen was on patrol near the intersection of Dave Ward Drive and Salem Road early Sunday morning when he attempted to initiate a routine traffic stop on a truck that was pulling a trailer behind it without taillights. When he activated the lights on his patrol car to have the driver of the truck pull over, the driver accelerated instead and attempted to drive away from Hugen.
"Officer Hugen was nearing the end of his shift about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday when he spotted a truck pulling a trailer behind it with a four-wheel all terrain vehicle on it," she said. "The trailer did not have taillights on it and the officer attempted to stop the driver to speak with him about the missing lights when the driver decided to keep going."
Hugen continued to follow the driver and alerted dispatch to the situation so other officers could come and assist him with the chase. Before other officers could arrive on the scene, the driver of the vehicle, David Castone of Little Rock, jumped out of the vehicle and began running from the officers. They were able to catch up with him on Margaret Circle and took him into custody.
Woodruff said that after the suspect was in custody, the officers began to check the vehicle, the trailer and the four-wheeler to see if they were listed as stolen. None of the items were listed as stolen, but the officers were able to track down the owner of the four-wheeler from a sticker found on it.
"The four-wheeler had a yellow sticker on it that said ‘Arkansas All Terrain Cycle’ and had an identifying number on it," she said. "The officers were able to track down the registered owner of the four-wheeler and were surprised to find that it belonged to fellow officer Chris Derrick. The four-wheeler, the trailer and a cooler had been stolen from Officer Derrick during the night and he had not yet discovered that it was even missing."
The suspect was not the registered owner of the truck he was driving, and the officers are still working to find the rightful owner of the vehicle.
Woodruff said that if not for an observant officer, the items could have been sold and never recovered.
"Officer Hugen was very observant in his actions of stopping the driver of the vehicle," she said. "He had no idea when he stopped that vehicle he was going to be helping a fellow officer. This is a great ending for everyone involved with the exception of the suspect. Officer Hugen did a great job, and officer Derrick had his items returned to him before he ever knew they were stolen."
The suspect told the officers that he had not stolen the trailer with the four-wheeler, but that he was driving it to a location to be sold for the person who actually taken it. Officers are still investigating to determine who the suspect was working with, if anyone.
(Candie Beck is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1238 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)