A local physician was arrested Feb. 3 on a drug charge after a two-car wreck near Cherokee Village Elementary School.
David Kauffman, 52, of Cherokee Village is charged with possession of a controlled substance, prescription pills; careless and prohibitive driving; no proof of insurance; failure to yield; failure to register; and no license plate.
Ash Flat Police Chief Mike Zeiger said he was traveling west on Rebel Drive near the elementary school around 7:50 a.m. when he saw a 1984 BMW traveling approximately 15 to 20 mph from the school dropoff. The driver, identified as Kauffman, attempted to turn left in the parking lot toward Highway 175 and struck an oncoming 1997 Toyota in the passenger side door. The car was pushed approximately 9 feet due to the impact. Zeiger radioed Highland Police Chief Bea Sharp.
"Mike said he (Kauffman) just shot out of there and into her car in the school parking lot," Sharp said. "It really upset him because children were near."
Passenger and car owner Margie Langley, 77, of Ash Flat complained of rib pain, Sharp said. She was evaluated by Spring River Paramedic Ambulance Service personnel. She and the driver, Debbie Moore, 54, of Ash Flat, were transported to their local physician's office in Ash Flat by Zeiger, Sharp said. Kauffman refused treatment.
When interviewing Kauffman, Sharp became suspicious.
"His eyes looked glazed and red and his clothes were wrinkled and disheveled," Sharp said.
Kauffman denied taking any medications, but officers found a prescription pill bottle of 37.5 mg phentermine, a diet pill, in his right front pants pocket, Sharp said. The prescription did not belong to Kauffman. Kauffman told Sharp the medication belonged to his nurse. He said he put the medication in his pocket after he found it in his car, Sharp said. Only 16 of the 31 pills were in the bottle, Sharp said.
Kauffman was transported to the Sharp County jail. He volunteered to take a urine test. The test has been sent to the state crime lab for analysis along with the remaining phentermine tablets. Kauffman was later released on $850 cash bond.
Zeiger, Highland Officer Kyle Crawford and Cpl. Wendall Jines with the Arkansas State Police assisted Sharp at the scene.
Highland Optometrist Dan Speir, 55, was arrested on misdemeanor drug charges after officers with the 3rd Judicial District Drug Task Force, Sharp County Sheriff's Office and Highland Police Department searched his home on Barnes Road near Evening Shade.
The officers received a tip that Speir had marijuana in the home, said DTF investigator Rickey Crook. Officers found a small bag of processed marijuana in a closet in an upstairs bedroom, Crook said.
Speir was transported to the Sharp County jail and was later released on his own recognizance, Crook said.