A high speed chase involving both Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies and Pine Bluff Police Officers Saturday afternoon ended when the suspect vehicle hit a retaining wall on the Martha Mitchell Expressway and the driver of the vehicle tried to flee on foot before being arrested.
Michael Peal Jr., 31, told Sheriff’s Capt. Yohance Brunson that he was guilty of not having a driver’s license, of reckless driving and running stop lights but he had no memory of hitting another vehicle, the retaining wall, and fighting with law enforcement officers.
Just after 5 p.m., Sheriff’s Sgt. Courtney Kelly was in the area of West 20th Avenue and Locust Street waiting on a wrecker for a vehicle he had previously stopped and while waiting, saw a Mercury Marquis drive erratically around the wrecker. Kelly attempted to stop the vehicle and the driver, later identified as Peal sped off to 20th Avenue and Cherry Street, ignoring stop signs along the way. The vehicle then turned to 27th Avenue and then west to Hazel Street at high speed, nearly hitting another vehicle, then traveling the wrong way on 27th Avenue and hitting a vehicle at 27th and Linden Street.
The chase continued to East Harding Avenue with Pine Bluff Police joining deputies, then to the Martha Mitchell Expressway at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. After hitting the wall, Peal tried to get out the driver’s side door and was confronted by Pine Bluff Police Officer Corey Wilfong, who Peal hit in the face with his fist, causing swelling and redness.
Other officers managed to cuff Peal and put him in the backseat of a police car but he tried to kick out the back glass and was taken out while leg restraints were placed on him.
On Monday, Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney set a $50,000 bond for Peal after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge him with felony fleeing. An additional $15,000 bond was set on probable cause of second-degree battery on a police officer for punching Wilfong.
Peal also was cited for multiple misdemeanor traffic offenses.