A North Little Rock teenager who led police from two cities on a New Year's Eve car chase with a gun in his vehicle was sentenced to two months in jail on Tuesday and fined $1,500.
Taylor Jordan Forrest, who turns 18 years old today, pleaded guilty to felony fleeing and a misdemeanor charge of minor in possession of a firearm before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright, according to deputy prosecutor Michelle Quiller.
Under the terms of the plea agreement negotiated by defense attorney Justin Cloar, Forrest will spend the next five years on probation. He faced up to six years in prison on the Class D felony charge.
According to police reports and court files, Forrest was arrested about 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 after leading officers from North Little Rock and Sherwood on a car chase that began at the Kum & Go convenience store at 5216 John F Kennedy Boulevard.
Motorist Cheyenne Moore, 22, of Benton had called North Little Rock police to complain that a man in a brown Ford Crown Victoria had been following her car.
Officer John P. Scott reported that he saw Moore's white Cadillac and the Crown Victoria parked at the gas pumps. Scott could see Moore approach the Ford driver and exchange words with him.
The driver put the car into reverse as Scott yelled at him to stop and park. Scott said the driver signaled like he was going to pull up next to the gas pumps, but then pulled out of the store parking lot heading north at high speed.
Scott, with lights and sirens going, followed the Ford north on JFK while notifying Sherwood police that the Crown Victoria might be heading there.
A second officer, heading to help Scott, joined the pursuit as the Ford turned onto Osage Drive and briefly eluded the officers, who had turned off their sirens and flashing lights while they searched for the fleeing driver.
A motorist directed Scott to the intersection of Osage and Comanche, saying the Ford had passed her and blown through the four-way stop.
Still searching, the two officers headed onto Camp Robinson Road until police dispatch notified them that Sherwood police were chasing the Crown Vic west on Maryland Road, according to the police report.
Scott moved onto Remount Road to try to cut off any escape that way. The fleeing Ford, with Sherwood officers following, passed by Scott, who resumed his pursuit as the Ford headed toward the Camp Robinson intersection, where two other North Little Rock officers had planted spike strips in an attempt to disable the Crown Victoria.
The car hit at least one of the strips but didn't stop, running the red light at the intersection while reaching 70 mph on Camp Robinson, then hitting 80 mph by the time it covered the next half-mile, according to the report.
Scott lost sight of the car, but another officer saw the sedan turn onto 51st Street and turn off its headlights and tail lights. Scott caught up to the Ford again at 47th and Pike Avenue, clocking the car at 70 mph when it hit a second set of spike strips placed at the 41st Street intersection.
The spikes didn't slow the Ford down, and it was still hitting 70 mph when it ran the red light at Doyle Venable Drive just before rear-ending a car in the 3400 block of Pike. It then crashed into the foundation of the Interstate 40 overpass.
The driver, later identified as Forrest, ran from the wrecked car toward the I-40 off-ramp on 33rd Street where Scott was able to cut the teenager off with his patrol car.
As Scott ran up to him, Forrest immediately put his hands over his head and laid face down in the street, where he was handcuffed without incident, the report said.
Police found a loaded 9 mm pistol on the floorboard of the front passenger seat. When Scott told Forrest the teen was going to be charged for having the gun, Forrest said the gun belonged to a friend named "Worm," whom he had picked up early in the pursuit and then dropped off at the Murphy Oil gas station at the Walmart on Arkansas 107 in Sherwood.
Forrest told another officer that the gun did not have a round in the chamber, which police confirmed. Forrest, who had been driving with a suspended license, was charged as an adult on the authority of prosecutors.
Court records show that in September 2016 when Forrest was 16, he was cited by the Highway Patrol for driving without a license, no liability insurance and using unofficial license tags.
Forrest, formerly of Sherwood, pleaded guilty on June 18 to those charges plus contempt of court for missing a November 2016 court appearance and was fined $700. Prosecutors dropped the remaining charges of careless and prohibited driving, driving a vehicle without tags and failure to yield.
Metro on 07/11/2018
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