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High bond set for fugitive

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

A $1 million dollar cash bond has been set for a fugitive still at large.

Ward Hendershott, 52, escaped authorities after he assaulted Izard County Sheriff Joe Martz. Martz attempted to arrest Hendershott after drugs were seized from the suspect's residence in Imboden Sept. 13.

Michael Steele, investigator of the 1st and 3rd Judicial District Drug Task Force, said authorities are still investigating the case.

Steele said Hendershott has ties in California and other areas so officers are checking every possible lead. Agents do not believe the suspect will be found in Lawrence County, Steele said.

Hendershott's wife was arrested and transported to the Izard County Sheriff's Office, then later transferred to the Lawrence County jail, where she remains. Her bond was set at $100,000, said Lawrence County Sheriff Waymond Hutton.

Hutton said everyone in northeast Arkansas is searching for the suspect, but like Steele, he thinks Hendershott fled the state. At this time no rewards have been offered for the apprehension of the suspect.

Arkansas State Police Special Agent Ross Dean said, "When somebody is on the run they try to get as far away as they can." He added that Hendershott has been entered into the system in the hopes authorities somewhere will stop the suspect for a traffic violation and arrest him for the outstanding warrants.

The couple will face charges of possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture.

Hendershott will also face additional charges in Izard County for resisting arrest, second-degree battery and felony fleeing, said Martz.

The search for Hendershott stems from an incident in which Martz was alerted by Sgt. Stan Witt of the Arkansas State Police that Hendershott was wanted after 45 grams of methamphetamine, components used in the making of methamphetamine, 40 grams of processed pseudoephedrine and over $20,000 in U.S. currency were seized from his property in rural Lawrence County.

Martz was advised by authorities that Hendershott and his wife, Terri, were at a dentist's office in Melbourne. His instructions were to arrest the couple based on probable cause as a result of the drug raid, said ASP Special Agent Ross Dean.

A 1992 Lexus fitting the description of Hendershott's vehicle was located at the Brad Wheelis Family Dentistry in Melbourne.

The sheriff said he thought at first the vehicle was vacant, but he observed movement at the driver's side so he approached Hendershott to arrest him, but the suspect put the Lexus in reverse, dragging Martz. Martz received cuts and abrasions after falling on the asphalt.

The suspect drove off at a high rate of speed toward Highway 69 in Melbourne.

Chief Deputy Earnie Blackley joined the pursuit but lost visual contact near the courthouse when Hendershott headed north on Spring Street, Martz said.

Roadblocks were set up in Sharp, Izard and Fulton counties but the suspect was able to elude them, Martz said.

Hendershott's vehicle was found by a hunter the next day on Knob Creek Road about six miles west of Melbourne after the suspect apparently attempted to hide it with brush and tree limbs.

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