Police Beat

From Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office reports

Shooting suspect held on $100K

A Vilonia man is behind bars in lieu of a $100,000 bond after reportedly shooting toward a vehicle while two men were inside it last week.

Benjamin Shane Vestal, 30, was charged with second-degree unlawful discharge of firearm in vehicle, a Class B felony; possession of firearms by certain persons, a Class B felony; and aggravated assault, a Class D felony; following the Aug. 5 incident.

Sheriff’s deputies were called around 10 a.m. Aug. 5 regarding a shooting near Dove Creek. The caller said he believed Vestal was the man driving the red Toyota Tacoma that was chasing after him and shooting at his vehicle.

Sgt. Chad Pruett was near Vilonia when the victim called 911 and headed toward the Billy Goat Mountain Road and Nannie Goat Lane area after hearing Vestal was headed south on Highway 107 because he knew the Vilonia man “frequents” that area, according to an incident report.

Deputies located the suspect vehicle in front of a residence on Nannie Goat Lane. Authorities on scene began to ask the homeowner about Vestal when one of the deputies spotted him climbing out of a window, the report states.

Vestal told the deputy he was just trying to get his phone back from “them,” referencing the two men he allegedly shot at.

The homeowner told police Vestal got to her home “only seconds prior to law enforcement arriving” and said he mentioned chasing after the two men who called police. She also said she saw Vestal with a gun earlier in the day but did not know where it was, adding that there should not be any firearms in her home.

After the woman gave police the OK to search her home, they found the firearm – a blued steel Heritage revolver – the victims described as the weapon used against them, the report states. The gun was located between a wall and a nightstand, directly under the window deputies reportedly caught Vestal climbing out of.

One of the victims told police Vestal stole his Jeep the night prior and left it in the middle of the road after he took it. According to the man’s statement, Vestal left his phone in the Jeep and chased after him on the day in question because he wanted it back.

Vestal was arrested in connection to the alleged shooting and taken to the Faulkner County Detention Center. Prior to being booked into the county jail, the Vilonia man was taken to the Baptist Health Medical Center in Conway because he said his shoulder and back were hurting from a previous injury.

Online records show the 30-year-old is scheduled to appear next Aug. 31 in Faulkner County Circuit Court for a plea and arraignment hearing.

2 arrested following complaint

Two men were arrested Sunday morning after a Faulkner County resident found an abandoned utility task vehicle on his property.

Nathaniel J. White, 37, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a Class D felony, and Austin J. Weir, 19, was charged with driving on a suspended license, an unclassified misdemeanor; fleeing on foot, a Class C misdemeanor; and careless and prohibited driving following the incident.

According to an incident report, a man who lives in the 200 block of Highway 107 called police after finding an abandoned side-by-side on his property.

The man told police he “has never seen the Kubota before,” but that he believed he knew who was responsible for taking it and leaving it on his property.

The night before he heard a car running in his yard and looked outside to see Weir, who is one of his friend’s children. At the time, he thought Weir and the group of friends with him were working on a car “so he went back to sleep.”

As deputy Tonya Force took photos of the abandoned utility task vehicle, a blue car pulled into the yard. A silver car almost pulled in behind it. However, the report states the driver of the silver car immediately drove away after seeing the deputy on scene.

Weir got out of the blue car and said something to the homeowner before driving away. According to the report, he “drove very fast out of the driveway and turned north on Highway 107.”

The car sped off at a high rate of speed before eventually stopping at the intersection of Highway 319 and Sage Valley Drive, the report states. While talking to Weir, the deputy noticed there was someone (White) hiding under a stack of blankets in the backseat.

The officers also found a chewing tobacco can that had a damp, white powdery substance in it, the report states. Though the Vilonia man claimed the substance was crushed Viagra he accidentally washed, the report states the substance tested positive for cocaine.

Both men were arrested on scene and taken to the Faulkner County Detention Center following the incident.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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