Woman fleeing Arkansas State Police dies, 2 others injured, in wreck in Crittenden County

Fatal wrecks in Arkansas
Fatal wrecks in Arkansas

A Tennessee woman died Monday night, and two others were hurt, after she crashed while fleeing from the Arkansas State Police in Crittenden County at high speed, a news release from the agency states.

A trooper around 9:24 p.m. Monday tried to pull over a vehicle driven by Courtney Ridgeway, 28, of Smyrna, Tenn., on Interstate 40 near exit 265, the release states.

Ridgeway did not stop and fled at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour on Bing's Store Road, losing control on the gravel road and crashing into a ditch, police said. The county coroner pronounced her dead at 10:42 p.m., and two passengers in the vehicle suffered injuries not thought to be life-threatening.

"This incident underscores why Arkansas State Police has been cautioning the public for months about the dangers of fleeing from law enforcement," state police director Col. Mike Hagar wrote in the release.

Speeding while fleeing police became a felony offense under Arkansas law last April after the legislature passed Act 734.

Ridgeway was at least the second person killed this year during a state police pursuit.

On Jan. 16, David Michael Pemberton, 56, died when a driver fleeing a state trooper in Fayetteville crashed head-0n into Pemberton's vehicle, police have said.

Noah Cargill, 20, the driver accused of causing the crash, pleaded innocent in February to a charge of first-degree murder in the death.

Last year, six people were killed while fleeing from state police, up from three in 2022, according to figures provided by the state police on Tuesday.

Between the same two years, the total number of state police pursuits rose from 541 to 620, while the number of pursuits that ended in a crash rose from 84 to 91.

In addition to those that ended in crashes, 239 pursuits last year were listed has having ended with troopers used a ramming technique known as a “tactical vehicle intervention” or “precision immobilization technique."

That was up from 172 pursuits that were ended by a trooper's use of a ramming technique in 2022.

The number of suspects injured in pursuits rose from 45 in 2022 to 88 last year, while the number of officers who were injured rose from five to 13.

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