By JOSH NEWTON
A Tahlequah man faces several charges stemming from a couple of hit-and-run crashes and a subsequent police chase in October.
Jarrod Dion Riggs, 30, faces a felony charge of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and misdemeanor charges including two counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving damage, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and resisting an officer.
Riggs is being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond after his Oct. 9 arrest near the Northeastern State University campus.
According to Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts’ report, police were called to a hit-and-run crash at about 5:15 p.m. near the intersection of Muskogee and the bypass. Riggs allegedly crashed into a vehicle driven by Mariah Hicks and left the scene. When Felts spotted Riggs’ vehicle, he tried a traffic stop, but the suspect continued north to near Goingsnake Street.
Riggs’ vehicle reportedly crashed into another vehicle, driven by Brett Gregoire, and continued north onto Grand Avenue, where two NSU police officers had blocked the road with their patrol vehicles.
Felts said Riggs came to a stop, but refused officers’ commands to get out of the vehicle.
Felts used a baton to break the driver’s-side window, and NSU Sgt. Jim Flores unlocked the door. Flores and Felts both reportedly tried to pull Riggs out of the vehicle, and Flores used pepper spray on the suspect, who allegedly then pushed the accelerator on the vehicle “as far as it would go.”
Riggs’ vehicle nearly struck NSU Officer Manuel Holland. Felts said Holland jumped out of the way to avoid being struck, but Riggs’ vehicle crashed into one of NSU’s police vehicles. Flores was inside Riggs’ vehicle when it accelerated and was dragged a short distance before he was able to free himself from the vehicle, Felts’ report says.
Riggs was finally forced out of his vehicle and arrested. Felts said Riggs provided his name to officers, but wouldn’t give his date of birth. He was taken to CCDC, but was required to be taken to a hospital to be medically cleared before he could be booked.
While en route to the hospital, Riggs was able to unhook his seat belt and slip his handcuffs from behind his back to his front. He then allegedly tried to open the door and jump out, but Felts was able to stop his vehicle and secure the suspect with the help of several other officers.
Court records show Riggs was charged in Cherokee County last July with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, actual physical control of a motor vehicle, and child endangerment by driving under the influence.
He was also charged in September 2011 with child neglect after allegedly leaving four children ages 2-7 unattended at an apartment complex.