Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Texan backs into trouble

A Tyler, Texas man had a literal run-in with a Minden Police officer, and even a little creative driving couldn't keep him out of jail.

Steven Mitchell Johns, 31, of East Street, Tyler, Texas, was arrested on two counts of resisting by force, two counts of aggravated flight from an officer, one count of aggravated criminal damage to property, running a red light, improper driving on a one-way street, improper backing, no seat belt, improper display, simple criminal damage and driving while intoxicated.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said around 4:45 a.m., Officer 1st Class James Barnes saw Johns' vehicle proceeding slowly through downtown.

"The officer fell in behind Johns, and when he did, he could tell the vehicle didn't have a license plate on the back," Cropper said.

The officer reportedly turned on his lights, and Cropper said Johns pulled his pick-up truck into a church parking lot.

"Johns slowed down to a semi-rolling stop," said the chief. "Off. Barnes thought he was stopping, but Johns just decided to drive on out the other side of the parking lot."

According to the chief, a slow chase ensued, with Johns driving up and down Main Street and Broadway.

"He wasn't going fast; he just wasn't pulling over – refusing to stop," Cropper said.

Barnes reportedly called for assistance and Officer Shawn Henderson joined the slow motion pursuit.

"They attempted a couple of times to block Johns off, with Henderson getting in front of him and Barnes to the side of him," said the chief. "They got him stopped at one point. Then he threw it in reverse and was backing up Main Street in front of the hospital, going toward the (Webster Parish) courthouse."

Webster Parish Sheriff's deputy Tony Matteson reportedly heard the radio traffic, and proceeded to block in Johns' truck on the opposite side.

"He was boxed in on both sides and in front, but he was still traveling in reverse when he rammed the driver's side fender of Barnes' patrol unit," Cropper said. "When Barnes opened his door, that blocked Johns in his vehicle. That allowed officers to get out of their units and in turn, get him out of his vehicle."

Cropper said Barnes was not injured in the collision. The patrol car didn't fare as well. According to Cropper, quotes to repair the damage came in around $1,400.

Johns was taken into custody but wasn't finished destroying things.

"He was placed in a holding cell where he knocked two cinder blocks out of the wall," Cropper said.

Johns was taken to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.






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