Prosecuting Attorney Chris Walton announced that Gary Haynes, age 51, of Benton, was sentenced to three years in the Department of Corrections for felony fleeing and driving while intoxicated-first offense. Haynes entered guilty pleas on January 31, 2020 and was sentenced by Judge Grisham Phillips on Tuesday, February 4, 2020.
On January 6, 2019, Bryant Police Officer Michael Kennedy saw a tan SUV speeding on Interstate 30 near the Walmart in Bryant. Officer Kennedy turned on his emergency blue lights and attempted to catch the SUV. The SUV was travelling over 100 miles per hour. The SUV left Interstate 30 at exit 118. The SUV travelled at 50 to 60 miles per hour on the North Service Road before continuing onto Highway 5. The SUV turned into the Coldwater Creek subdivision before entering the driveway of his home at 2800 Silverton. During the pursuit, Officer Kennedy was joined by the Benton Police Department and Saline County Sheriff’s Office.
Once the SUV stopped, Officer Kennedy ordered the driver, Haynes, out of the vehicle. Haynes refused to comply and was later tased. Officer Kennedy immediately smelled alcohol on Haynes’ breath. Haynes later refused to take a blood alcohol test.
At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brian Clary urged Judge Phillips to sentence Haynes to prison. Clary noted that Haynes had five prior driving while intoxicated convictions over the past 15 years, including a felony driving while intoxicated in 2010. Haynes also had been convicted of theft of public benefits in Pulaski County in 2009.
Walton expressed thanks to Officer Kennedy, the Bryant and Benton Police Departments and the Saline County Sheriff’s Office. He went on to add that drivers should be prepared to face stiff penalties if they fail to stop for law enforcement officers. Walton stated, “Trying to out run the police to cover up for drunk driving is dangerous to law enforcement and drivers on the road. It will not be tolerated.”