MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – Two men from Wichita, Kansas were arrested Tuesday morning following a vehicle pursuit on State Highway 178 West that originated near Lakeview.
Around 7:20 this morning, the Sheriff’s Office received a report from a woman at the Bull Shoals-White River roadside park stating that two men in a black Chevrolet Tahoe entered into her vehicle, stole her wallet, and then headed East bound on State Highway 178.
Sheriff’s Corporal Michael Holland met the suspect vehicle around 7:40 a.m. on State Highway 178, turned around on it, and attempted to make a traffic stop based on the complaint. The suspects refused to stop and accelerated, passing several vehicles in double yellow no passing zones.
Corporal Holland began pursuing the vehicle at high speed. When the suspects approached the intersection of State Highway 5 in Midway, the driver veered into the gravel parking lot of The Eagles Club. The driver lost control of the vehicle and it overturned, coming to rest on its wheels. The driver then continued to try to flee, with the engine revving and tires spinning.
Both the driver and the passenger were taken into custody at 7:42 a.m. The driver was identified as 20-year-old Matthew Scott Braden. The passenger was identified as 22-year-old Lakota Rein Tripp.
The stolen wallet was not found in the vehicle. The wallet had contained credit cards, a driver license, and other identification cards. The suspects stated they threw the wallet out of the vehicle while driving after finding it held no cash. Drug paraphernalia was also found in the vehicle.
The suspects told investigators that they had stolen a relative’s truck in Kansas, drove it to Oklahoma and ran out of gasoline there. The suspects then took the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV on a test drive from a dealership in Oklahoma and did not return it. The vehicle was reported stolen from Ponca, Oklahoma and had been entered into NCIC as such.
Both suspects were subsequently transported to the Baxter County Detention Center and both booked on charges of:
- Breaking or Entering – Felony
- Tampering with Evidence – Felony
- Theft of Credit Card (3 counts) – Felonies
- Fleeing in Vehicle – Felony
- Theft by Receiving – Felony
- Theft of Property – Misdemeanor
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Misdemeanor
- Careless and Prohibited Driving – Misdemeanor
- No Liability Insurance – Misdemeanor
Braden and Tripp are both being held in lieu of $25,000 each on these charges and will appear before the Circuit Court to answer later this month.