Jonesboro officer hurt when patrol car flips on way to jail

JONESBORO -- A Jonesboro patrol officer was injured Thursday evening in a vehicle accident while transporting a teenager to the Craighead County jail, authorities said.

Justin Thompson, 24, had to be extricated from his patrol car and was flown by medical helicopter to Regional Medical Center in Memphis where he was treated and later released, Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said Friday.

Thompson has been with the Jonesboro Police Department since December 2015, Jonesboro Police Department spokesman Paul Holmes said.

The officer responded to the Mall at Turtle Creek on East Highland Drive in Jonesboro shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday after receiving a call about an intoxicated person there.

Thompson arrested Logan Younger, 19, of Jonesboro for public intoxication outside of the mall and placed Younger in the back seat of his patrol car.

Younger asked if Thompson was going to give him a ride. Thompson said yes, but when Younger realized that he was being arrested, he began cursing the officer.

In a video taken from Thompson's patrol car and provided by the police department, Younger is seen berating the officer.

"I should have cheated," Younger said. "You cheated.

"You betrayed me. You said you were going to give me a ride home."

Later, as Thompson drove to the Craighead County jail in northwest Jonesboro, Younger asked the officer if he was going to "shoot me."

At one point the video shows Younger slipping his left wrist through handcuffs and freeing his arm.

He began a profanity-laced complaint against Thompson and struck a glass partition between the front and back seats with his fist. Younger also lay in the seat and kicked the glass.

The video shows Younger reach into his pocket and retrieve a cigarette lighter. Younger lit it and appeared to attempt to set fire to the back of Thompson's seat.

Thompson activated his police car lights, sped up and passed several cars in the left lane of Johnson Avenue, a police report indicated.

"It appeared to have distracted [Thompson]," Elliott said. "He turned his head back to see what Younger was doing and veered to the left. He overcompensated and lost control."

The accident happened at 5:22 p.m. It had been raining and the road was wet.

Thompson's car flipped over and rolled near the intersection of West Johnson Avenue and North Culberhouse Street about 2 miles from the jail.

Younger was ejected from the shattered rear window. Thompson was trapped in the vehicle.

Younger fled but was captured quickly. He faces the public intoxication charge, along with charges of fleeing on foot and being a minor in possession, Holmes said.

Thompson was released from the Memphis hospital Thursday evening. He returned to the Jonesboro police station Friday but did not work, Elliott said.

"He was pretty banged up," the police chief said. "He had a lot of cuts and bruises and was hurting all over."

Elliott said he does not anticipate seeking additional charges against Younger for the patrol car accident.