Gassville man arrested after high speed chase and manhunt near Viola
Early Tuesday (July 9) morning, residents of the Pickren Hall/Enterprise community near Viola were urged to remove all keys from their vehicles (and ATVs), lock up their houses and stay inside, as a man who led deputies on a high speed chase had abandoned the vehicle and was on foot.
Fulton County Sheriff’s Office issued the warning to residents before 9 a.m., during which time a heavy police presence was seen in the area.
In a press release from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, it was stated the suspect, later identified as Dylan O. Lawyer, 25, of Gassville, was traveling east on Hwy. 62 at 91 mph in a 55 mph zone. Corporal David Estes met Lawyer, who was driving a gray Chevrolet pickup truck, and tried to initiate a traffic stop.
“The driver of the vehicle refused to stop and fled east bound toward Fulton County at high speed. Sheriff’s Lieutenant Terry Johnson was ahead of the pursuit and joined it,” said the release. Lawyer was said to have been driving recklessly and deputies lost sight of him after he turned north on Enterprise Road.
Shortly after losing sight of Lawyer, deputies found the vehicle but Lawyer had fled on foot. “A subsequent check with the registered owner of the vehicle revealed that it had been stolen sometime overnight from an address on Basswood Lane in Baxter County. There was a handgun in this vehicle, which was recovered from the truck where it had been abandoned. There was substantial damage sustained by the stolen vehicle during its theft and during the pursuit,” included the release.
Deputies from Fulton and Baxter counties were joined by a canine tracking team from the Arkansas Department of Corrections – North Central Unit and the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
A few minutes before 10 a.m., a white truck approached a roadblock and was able to alert deputies that Lawyer was in the back seat. “It was then learned that the suspect had broken into an occupied home in Fulton County in the area where the manhunt was taking place. The suspect forced the two elderly homeowners to get into the white pickup truck and attempt to drive him out of the area. As they approached the roadblock, the driver told officers that the suspect was ordering the driver to plow through the roadblock without stopping,” said the release.
Baxter County reported Lawyer was linked to an attempted break-in at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. He is now facing a multitude of felony charges in both Baxter and Fulton counties. He was taken to the Baxter County Detention Center and booked on Baxter County charges of: criminal attempt to commit aggravated burglary – felony, aggravated assault – felony, breaking or entering – felony, fleeing – felony theft of property (two counts) – felony, possession of firearm by certain persons (convicted felon) – felony, criminal mischief – felony and habitual offender – penalty enhancement.
His bond is set at $100,000 and will appear in Baxter County Circuit Court July 11. Fulton County will also be bringing charges against Lawyer.