After a pursuit and a scuffle with officers, a Smithville man was taken into custody Monday evening and charged with evading arrest, DUI, unlawful possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, assault, and vandalism.
37 year old Lonnie Wheeler is under a $12,000 bond and will appear in court on February 13.
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that the incident began around 5:30 p.m. Monday as Officer Chip Avera and Corporal Travis Bryant were dispatched to break up a fight in progress on Kendra Drive. While police were enroute, the suspect got in his automobile and left the scene. After spotting the vehicle on Mountain Street near the Covenant Baptist Church, the officers activated their blue lights. But instead of pulling over, the suspect accelerated and led police on a pursuit down Mountain Street to Bryant Street. As the vehicle tried to turn onto Fisher Avenue, it ran into a ditch. Wheeler, the driver, then got out and tried to flee on foot leaving behind a passenger in the automobile. As Officer Avera and Detective Brandon Donnell stayed with the other person in the vehicle, Corporal Bryant chased after Wheeler and called for him to stop but he was uncooperative. After being tasered, Wheeler went to the ground and was handcuffed and placed in custody by Corporal Bryant along with Detective Matt Holmes and K-9 Officer James Cornelius who were also on the scene. As the officers were escorting Wheeler to the patrol car, he began fighting with them and head butted Corporal Bryant which later resulted in an assault charge against him. Wheeler was then taken to the ground again and restrained. After being placed in the patrol car, Wheeler continued to resist and kicked the glass out of the left rear door resulting in the vandalism charge against him.
Wheeler was also charged with DUI after police determined that he was intoxicated. According to Chief Caplinger, Wheeler was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Police found in Wheeler's vehicle an open beer and some whiskey along with a long blade knife and a baseball bat which led to a charge against Wheeler of unlawful possession of a weapon.
After his arrest, Wheeler was taken to the hospital for treatment of a gash on his head. He was then transported to jail. No one else was seriously injured in the incident.