Guy almost committed murder and was in turn almost killed for......Suspended license....below is the aftermath
FORT SMITH, Ark. —
Arkansas State Police Trooper, James Ray, told 40/29 News he was doing his job and that he would do it again in order to protect the public, "There's people out there that do way more heroic things than I did. I stopped somebody from going the wrong way on the interstate."
On December 4, Ray was involved in a high-speed pursuit on I-40 in Franklin County, Arkansas.
Initially, AR Highway Police requested backup from State Police after checking on a black Chevy Impala that was pulled over on the side of the interstate. Police said the driver, Bryan Starnes, from North Carolina, showed to have a suspended license. Police also noticed the windows of the vehicle were spray painted black.
When Trooper Ray approached the vehicle it sped off.
State Police dash camera video obtained by 40/29 News showed the suspect vehicle passing cars and trucks on the shoulder of the interstate at speeds of more than 100 mph.
When Ray saw an opening in traffic, he performed a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver, "That's our way of ending the pursuit as quickly and as effectively as possible."
But the danger increased exponentially when the driver regained control and then drove the wrong way on the interstate into oncoming traffic.
"It was a very sickening feeling because chasing somebody the right way on the roadway is already dangerous enough. Now you have a motorist, a fleeing subject, that's now going the wrong way on the interstate at the same speed as he was going the right way on the interstate," Ray said. "We can't just end it. We can't just back off and let this guy continue to go that way without trying to intervene at some point because if he continues, he could potentially kill someone."
Police video showed the car narrowly missed colliding with unsuspecting drivers, including a school bus.
"My heart sank," Ray said. "I got nervous, I was scared and I was like, please do not hit that school bus."
The pursuit lasted more than 11 minutes and Ray was eventually able to get in front of the oncoming car. He radioed police dispatch, "Fort Smith, I'm head-on with the suspect right now".
"In those situations, you don't have a whole lot of time, you can't sit back and say, okay what do I need to do here," Ray said. "You just have to you have to act."
As the suspect's car approached, police video showed Ray ramming it nearly head-on with his police cruiser. The airbags deployed and Ray was was seen exiting his car with gun drawn, ordering the driver out of his car.
"I was worried about the fact that, what if this, what if the vehicle behind me just left the hospital with their first newborn child," Ray said. "If I don't end this and this guy hits them and something severe happens, that's going to be on my conscience and that's going to be on me (because) I did not act. So I had to do it."
There were no injuries reported as a result of the collision. Ray told 40/29 News he had the breath knocked out of him.
Bryan Starnes was arrested. The 31-year-old driver was charged with felony assaulting a police officer and fleeing. As of Monday, Starnes was still being held inside the Franklin County detention center. According to court records, he was issued a $100,000 bond.
As he reviewed the police video from the pursuit, Ray told 40/29 News, "We're in this line of work to serve and protect and by whatever means necessary, whether it's helping somebody on the side of the road or to the most extreme, going head-on with somebody on the interstate, that's what we're here for."
After 40/29 News posted the police dash camera video of the pursuit online last week, it has since garnered more than 4.5 million views. The post has reached more than 7 million people worldwide and more than 18,000 people have commented about it.
The 24-year-old trooper from Booneville, Arkansas has been with ASP for nearly 3 years and told 40/29 News that he's always wanted to serve the public, "Just serving in some form, I've always felt that's been my calling and what I was supposed to do," said Ray.