Tahlequah Daily Press

October 3, 2013

Bondsman gets out of jail after hit-and-run

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Jail records show a Tahlequah bail bondsman was able to get himself out of jail this week after he allegedly crashed his vehicle into another and fled the scene.

Michael Keith Ryals, 28, was arrested Sunday afternoon and booked into jail for hit-and-run. He posted his own $5,000 bond Monday.

According to Tahlequah Officer Todd Carnes, police were called to the hit-and-run crash on East Downing Street and learned the suspect’s vehicle was a black Chevrolet truck with “Ryals Bail Bonds” on the back glass.

Jerry Harrington told police the driver of the truck – later identified as Ryals – pulled out in front of him on Downing. Harrington and Ryals then both pulled into the parking lot of Danny’s Muffler, and Ryals allegedly began to yell and curse at Harrington before telling Harrington he had a gun.

After a verbal confrontation, Ryals allegedly left at a high rate of speed, hitting Harrington’s vehicle.

A Cherokee Nation marshal witnessed Ryals driving his truck into Harrington’s vehicle and then drive east when he left the scene.

According to Carnes’ report of the incident, a ranger spotted Ryals and stopped him near State Highway 51 and Welling Road. Carnes went to the location and arrested Ryals, who allegedly admitted to hitting Harrington’s truck and driving off after a verbal exchange.

Ryals has not been formally charged for the alleged hit-and-run.

Court records show Ryals was charged earlier this year in Adair County with a misdemeanor count of impersonating a public officer by uniform or vehicle. Ryals has pleaded not guilty, and is set for a jury trial sounding docket Oct. 22 at 11 a.m.

Court records show Ryals also has previous misdemeanor charges in Cherokee County for actual physical control and stalking, but both cases were dismissed in 2012 for court costs.

According to Oklahoma statutes, any person who is convicted of – or pleads guilty or no contest to – a felony or misdemeanor involving “dishonesty or moral turpitude” is prohibited from being a bondsman.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com