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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Manhunt continues for fugitive

Thursday, September 19, 2002

A manhunt continues for a fugitive who eluded authorities and roadblocks in Izard, Sharp and Fulton counties. Ward Hendershott, 52, of Imboden fled after he assaulted Izard Sheriff Joe Martz Sept. 13.

Martz said his office was contacted by Sgt. Stan Witt of the Arkansas State Police (ASP) to be on alert and arrest Hendershott based on probable cause as a result of drugs discovered at his home.

When authorities arrived in rural Lawrence County to execute a search warrant the suspects were not at home. As a result of the search about 45 grams of methamphetamine was seized along with components used in the making of methamphetamine, including about 40 grams of processed pseudophedrine and over $20,000 in U.S. currency, said ASP Special Agent Ross Dean.

Officers received information that Hendershott and his wife, Terri, were at a dentist's office in Melbourne and to be on the lookout for a green Lexus. Martz searched several dentist's offices in the area and located the suspect's vehicle at Brad Wheelis Family Dentistry in Melbourne.

Martz said he thought at first the 1992 Lexus was vacant, but he observed movement on the driver's side so he approached Hendershott and attempted to arrest him.

While Martz had a hold on Hendershott who was still in the vehicle the suspect put the vehicle in reverse, dragging Martz. He said, "I was unable to hold on anymore." Martz fell to the asphalt and received cuts and abrasions.

He said the suspect drove off at a high rate of speed toward Highway 69 west in Melbourne.

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

Martz said he alerted authorities in the tri-county area and roadblocks were set up.

Hendershott's wife was arrested at the dentist's office and transported to the Izard County Sheriff's Office and later transferred to the Lawrence County jail.

The manhunt for Hendershott continued the next day after his vehicle was found by a hunter on Knob Creek Road about six miles west of Melbourne. Martz said Hendershott attempted to hide the vehicle with brush and tree limbs.

Circuit Judge Harold Erwin set a $1 million cash bond on both suspects, said Dean. Both will face charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture.

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

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