Driver Leads Police on High Speed Chase in Stolen Car

POPE COUNTY, Ark. -- A Tennessee man is behind bars tonight -- after troopers say he led them on a wild high speed chase that ended with a big bang in a busy part of town. The chaotic scene played out Wednesday night at the intersection of main and commerce street in Russellville. The same area where the city's Christmas parade will wind through Thursday night at roughly the same time.

"That kind of stuff doesn't happen around this area," says Daniel Freeman. Freeman works at  an art store in Downtown Russellville. He's usually out of his shop by dusk. "Recently we've been locking the door around six, because of stuff like that."

An added bit of safety, not knowing danger would show up right outside his doors.

"This is insane," Freeman says.

State police say they attempted to pull over 22-year-old Tennessee native - Brett Gerth - after reports he was driving a stolen car on Interstate 40. That's when they say Gerth and a passenger sped away - crashing into several parked cars -  right across from the restaurant where Billy Knight works. "I was in the kitchen but I stepped outside to check the dining room," says Knight.

Knight says he noticed several police cars and a crowd outside. "I came out here to investigate and it was just crazy, chaotic," he says. "There were definitely a few cars that got clipped and doing 80 it probably did some damage to the cars."

Police say Gerth and his passenger suffered minor injuries, but no one else was hurt."It was definitely a sight for us to see something that doesn't happen very often," says Knight. While Daniel says business is back to usual, he's grateful he wasn't outside his shop during the crash. "I'm very thankful that I wasn't walking across crosswalk at that point," says Freeman.

Gerth faces several charges - including theft by receiving, fleeing, DWI and reckless driving. He is being held at the Pope County Jail and is due back in court in January.

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