Approximately 40 minutes later, Montgomery County began pursuit of the suspect vehicle. The pursuit then proceeded through Montgomery County, into Scott County, and then headed for Polk County. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the pursuit and deputies posted themselves to join in if the pursuit came into Polk County. The pursuit came from Highway 71 North in Scott County, traveled south onto Highway 71, then turned west onto Highway 270 in the Acorn community. Speeds in the pursuit were in excess of 110 miles an hour.
The suspect vehicle ran out of gas in the Eagleton area of Highway 270. When deputies approached the car, they saw that the driver had pulled two small children from the back seat into his lap. They also noticed that an adult female was in the passenger seat of the car. As deputies approached the car, the driver yelled that he had a bomb and if they approached the vehicle he would blow himself and the children up. At this time, deputies backed off and set up a perimeter and the Fort Smith Bomb Squad was contacted and put on alert. A short time later, the driver was observed trying to light something. Fearing that the driver might be attempting to light a fuse, officers from Polk County assaulted the vehicle, separated the children from the driver, and after an extensive struggle, took the driver into custody. The adult female was also taken into custody.
The arrestees were identified as Joseph Alan Jester, dob: 11-1-1979 of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Lora Lee Short, dob: 3-9-1989, also of Hot Springs, Arkansas. The arrestees were transported to the Polk County Jail and were charged with Fleeing, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor and Terroristic Threatening. The two small children were turned over to DHS. The Yell County deputies that were involved in the pursuit that had been dragged down the road were taken to the emergency room and treated and released.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the surrounding counties for their assistance, especially Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff David White.