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Little Rock man charged in Monday police pursuit

Posted: January 29, 2014 - 5:23pm

A Little Rock man was officially charged Wednesday in Faulkner County Circuit Court with multiple felonies and misdemeanors after his alleged involvement in a multiple-agency police pursuit Monday morning.

Derek Keller faces felony charges of possession with intent to deal meth or cocaine, forgery, possession of forgery device, fleeing, theft by receiving and possession of drug paraphernalia. Keller also faces misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest.

Conway police spokesperson La Tresha Woodruff said the pursuit lasted about an hour, and included the Vilonia Police Department, Arkansas State Police and the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office. According to an affidavit, the Greenbrier Police Department also assisted.

Woodruff said the near hour-long pursuit varied in speed, but did reach more than 100 mph at times.

According to the affidavit, Conway police followed Keller on College Avenue, Salem Road and on to Interstate 40 before the pursuit moved to Arkansas 65, on to Acklin Gap Road and eventually into Vilonia. Multiple attempts were made at utilizing spike strips.

Vilonia police were able to strike the right front tire, however, Keller continued at speeds between 50-70 mph on the Vilonia bypass and on to Center Point Loop until Vilonia police were able to deploy a second spike strip, which struck the remaining three tires, the affidavit states.

As officers attempted to force Keller’s car off the roadway, the vehicle rammed a Vilonia police vehicle.

Officers were able to apprehend the suspect after a state trooper broke one of the vehicle’s windows.

The incident began when Conway police responded to a domestic disturbance around 9:03 a.m. Monday in the 800 block of Granite Lane. While en route, officers were advised the dispute was believed to be between a father and son, and the vehicle the suspect arrived in was believed to be stolen.

When officers arrived they observed a white male, later identified as Keller, loading items into a red Honda CRV, which matched the description of the stolen vehicle. Police said Keller began walking back to the house when he noticed a police vehicle, and attempted to shut the door behind him after asking if he had any warrants.

“Because I had been informed by dispatch that Keller would possibly run when confronted, I followed him into the house to keep eyes on him until my backup arrived,” an officer noted in the incident report.

Police said Keller was in an “excitable state” and displayed twitching hands and wide eyes. Keller was asked if he had any weapons on his person, which he denied, but was searched by an officer to make sure. Police said Keller continually questioned the officer’s right to search him.

When asked if he was in possession of any other illegal items, Keller ran, police said.

An officer pinned Keller, described as 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, against a wall and attempted to draw her taser, but was unable to before Keller made his way to a door.

The officer continued to grab at Keller, and was able to latch on to his coat.

“He then began to swing me, and I got knocked into the brick of the house,” the responding officer noted in the police report.

Keller was able to evade police custody and enter the Honda CRV, and the pursuit ensued.

Upon his apprehension, police discovered 16 grams of suspected methamphetamine in Keller’s hands, according to the affidavit. A vehicle search yielded the discovery of scales and two desktop printers containing photocopies of U.S. currency.

Keller told police he consumed approximately eight grams of meth, the affidavit states. Police said Keller was taken to the Conway Regional Medical Center for treatment of his injuries and possible overdose.

A hospital employee confirmed Wednesday afternoon Keller was still in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.

According to the affidavit, Conway police first responded to the residence Friday after Keller’s mother reported her vehicle missing, along with several blank checks and a propane tank.

Keller’s mother said she later discovered her son forged several checks worth $350. The suspect’s mother told police she believed Keller stole the propane tank to cook meth, and also showed officers burnt remains of attempts by her son to make counterfeit money.

According to court documents, no first appearance or arraignment has been set for Keller.

(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at lee.hogan@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan.)

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