An investigation into a fatal traffic accident that occurred late last Tuesday resulted in the driver of the car being accused of felony murder.
Harold Locke, 39, who has had multiple prior felony convictions, most for burglary, theft of property and breaking or entering, is accused of driving a white Chevrolet at a high rate of speed while fleeing from a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy before the car wrecked in a ditch behind Car Mart on Blake Street.
The body of Tywanna Angel Gordon, 41, was found face down in the ditch, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
This was the 13th homicide reported so far this year inside the Pine Bluff city limits.
According to a probable cause affidavit from Detective Jeremy Oswalt, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Glen Barnes was dispatched to an address in the 300 block of West Bitely Road to check a report of a suspicious vehicle. The caller had told dispatchers that the trunk of the vehicle was open, and a male and female were loading items into the vehicle.
Before Barnes arrived, dispatchers reported that the car had left and was traveling north on U.S. 65 heading toward Pine Bluff. Barnes located the vehicle, a white Chevrolet, at U.S. 65 and Abernathy Road and attempted to conduct a traffic stop.
The driver, later identified as Locke, refused to stop, and a pursuit resulted with Locke reaching speeds of 70 to 80 miles per hour before exiting the highway onto East Harding Avenue, then turning onto Wisconsin Street and later onto Michigan Street at 50 miles per hour.
Oswalt reported that Locke turned off the car’s headlights in an attempt to escape detection, then turned onto 6th Avenue and traveling west in the wrong direction. Barnes terminated the pursuit when the vehicle reached 6th Avenue and Catalpa Street due to the erratic way Locke was driving and the fact they were reaching an area where there was more traffic.
Barnes saw Locke run the stop light at 6th Avenue and Blake Street then heard a loud bang and saw smoke. The car was found in the ditch at 6th Avenue and Fig Street and had hit two light poles, a stop sign, fire hydrant, mailbox and another vehicle.
Pine Bluff Police Officer Kevin Collins saw the wreck and reported that the vehicle flipped over two or three times. Locke fled from the driver’s seat and was found hiding in the bed of a truck in the backyard of a house on West 6th Avenue. He had several cuts and bruises, which officers described as “road rash.”
Oswalt reported that Locke was not interviewed after he asked for an attorney.
On Thursday, Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $250,000 bond for Locke after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge him with felony fleeing and first-degree murder. The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Locke.