A Louisiana truck driver is charged with sexual indecency with a child after he allegedly fondled a 13-year-old West Plains, Mo., girl while the two were traveling through the county on their way back to Louisiana.
Jerry Shawn Wainwright, 27, of West Monroe, La., was arrested July 1 after an investigation began in June when the girl text messaged her mother on her cell phone and told her of the alleged inappropriate activity.
According to a statement from the girl, she and her mother met Wainwright, who was transporting livestock in the region, in West Plains around 3:30 a.m. June 12 so the girl could travel with Wainwright to her father's home in West Monroe. She would then go on to a basketball camp in Ruston, La.
Wainwright, who is wheelchair bound, began touching the girl's breasts when the two neared the traffic light in Ash Flat and continued the behavior along Highway 167 in Sharp County and into other Arkansas counties, said Sharp County Deputy Donna Middlebrook.
Wainwright told officers he and the girl went to Lanton, Mo., to retrieve a trailer. The two then drove to Salem, he said. He grew tired and asked the girl to drive his truck. She sat on his lap while he laid the seat back and slept, he said.
"The next thing I know we were in Cave City when I woke up," Wainwright said. "(The girl) saw a cop car. (She) climbed back over to the passenger seat and I started driving."
The girl drove several times between Salem and Searcy sitting on Wainwright's lap while Wainwright slept, he said.
"But as we was driving through all of these towns and stuff he was touching both of my (breasts) and would lean his head on my back, would rub both sides of them, then would rub by or close to my private area," the girl told authorities.
Wainwright admitted to some inappropriate behavior, Middlebrook said.
"When we got on Highway 167 I told (the girl) there are two buttons that make you drive fast," Wainwright said. "(The girl) asked me if it was gross and I said no. I asked her if she was sure she wanted me to show her and she said as long as it wasn't gross. So I grabbed or cupped on her right breast. I immediately let go and (the girl) said that was gross."
"I know that grabbing (the girl's) breast was wrong," he said. "I never said I was sorry, I told her it was just a joke."
According to the girl more inappropriate behavior followed. He told her he wished she was older so she could be his girlfriend, she told police.
The girl told police she felt uncomfortable when Wainwright touched her. She text messaged her mother while she used the restroom at a convenience store, Middlebrook said.
The girl's mother called the girl's soon-to-be stepmother in Louisiana. The stepmother then called police. Hamburg police and Ashley County deputies stopped the vehicle and began questioning Wainwright, the girl said. He was not arrested at the scene, she said.
Wainwright was not arrested until July 1 when he came to the Sharp County Sheriff's Office for an interview, said Sharp County Det. Sgt. David Huffmaster. He was later released on his own recognizance.