Little Rock high school assistant principal arrested in hit-and-run that seriously injured police officer

Posted: November 7, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

Keith Hearnsberger

A Little Rock high school assistant principal was arrested Monday and charged in a weekend hit-and-run that injured a Little Rock police lieutenant.

Keith Hearnsberger, 35, surrendered to police Monday and was charged with multiple felonies in connection to the hit-and-run accident early Sunday, according to Little Rock police. Hearnsberger is an assistant principal at McClellan High School in southwest Little Rock, according to a school district spokesman.

Authorities have recovered the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run and it's being processed for evidence, police said Monday. An arrest report shows Hearnsberger faces two counts of second-degree battery and one count of leaving the scene of an accident with injury. He also faces one count of reckless driving, a misdemeanor charge.

Lt. Johnny Gilbert and a person he was arresting were struck early Sunday by a vehicle going west on West Daisy Gatson Bates Drive, according to a police statement. The vehicle then fled the scene, police said.

Gilbert was working an off-duty security detail at 1102 W. Daisy Gatson Bates Drive at the time of the incident, the statement said. Officers were working an event that was scheduled to end at 1:30 a.m., police said.

About 12:40 a.m., several men tried to enter the event after the doors were closed to anybody wanting to come inside, according to the statement. The men became upset and began cursing at the officers after not being let in, according to a police report.

Officers escorted them across the street and again asked them to leave the area, the report said. All the men calmed down except for Daryl Johnson, 25, who was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to the report.

Gilbert was taking Johnson across the street when "a maroon sedan or crossover type vehicle" struck both men, according to a statement. The department said Monday afternoon that Gilbert remained in the hospital in "serious but stable condition." Police also said Monday afternoon that Johnson was in stable condition at the hospital.

An arrest report shows that Hearnsberger lives less than a mile from the scene of the hit-and-run.

Hearnsberger has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Little Rock police investigation, Little Rock School District spokesman Pamela Smith said in a written statement Monday afternoon.

"The Little Rock School District has been made aware of the serious allegations against [Hearnsberger]," Smith wrote.

Hearnsberger was hired as McClellan's assistant principal in July and had previously worked for the district as a music teacher at J.A. Fair High School from August 2007 to July 2011, according to Smith.

Online records from Little Rock traffic court show Hearnsberger was charged in May with careless and prohibited driving.


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Metro on 11/07/2017