WHITE COUNTY, Ark. – Deputies in White County said that a pursuit led to a man punching a deputy before he was found in a tree by a federal K-9 officer Monday evening.
Officials with the White County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy was helping a driver recover a stolen car when the two spotted the vehicle between Bald Knob and Russell.
Authorities said the deputy saw 42-year-old Jonathan Roth driving the car and turned on her lights so Roth would pull over. However, the deputy said Roth pretended to pull over several times before coming to a complete stop.
When the deputy opened her door, officials said that Roth sped off and a vehicle pursuit started. Deputies said the chase eventually left the road and went into an empty field, which is where the deputy said Roth got out of his vehicle and ran toward a tree line.
Officials said that the deputy caught Roth, with both falling down an embankment into water. Authorities said Roth then punched the deputy at least twice in her face. When the deputy stood up, officials said that Roth was not in sight.
Once the deputy involved in the fight was confirmed to be safe, the sheriff’s office reported the search for Roth continued, with assistance from the Arkansas State Police, Federal and State Wildlife officers, and teams from the Judsonia and Bald Knob police departments.
K-9 Officer Timber from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and his handler also came on to assist in the search, and along with a White County K-9 handler found Roth in a grove of trees after he appeared to have climbed “high into the branches.”
Sheriff Phillip Miller arrived at the scene, and deputies said he talked Roth down without further indent. Roth was taken into custody and transported to the White County Detention Center where he is currently facing charges of second-degree battery, fleeing and theft of property. He is scheduled to have his first court appearance Wednesday.
According to the sheriff’s office, the deputy involved in the initial pursuit and altercation with Roth was back to work Tuesday with bruising and swelling to the left eye and mouth.