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BENTONVILLE -- The criminal cases against two former Benton County Dive Team members will end if they follow through with conditions reached with prosecutors.

Chris Perry and James Downum, who were volunteers on the team, were arrested in August in connection with using team equipment for personal business.

Perry and Downum were arrested in connection with using a county pontoon boat and diving equipment to raise a sunken boat for another person and were paid for the work, according to court documents.

The two men appeared in court Monday where David James, deputy prosecutor, announced a diversion agreement had been reached.

Downum and Perry must pay $2,518, the amount they made raising the boat, to the Benton County Circuit Clerk's Office within 10 days. The money will then be forwarded to the Dive Team.

The two can't commit any new criminal offenses and must maintain good behavior during a six-month diversion period. No charges will be filed against Perry and Downum if they live up to the agreement. A hearing for Perry and Downum is scheduled for 8 a.m. April 11.

Circuit Judge Brad Karren accepted and signed off on the diversion agreement.

The team was suspended after Perry and Downum were arrested.

The team operated under an independent board appointed by the county judge.

The Dive Team board was established in 2009 after conflicts arose between two dive teams then operating in the county. The ordinance that created a board to oversee the combined teams cited problems with command and control at scenes.

The Dive Team will be placed under the umbrella of the Benton County's Sheriff's Office, but that process hasn't yet been completed. An ordinance has one more reading before the Benton County Quorum Court can approve it.

The Tri County dive team now assists with calls in Benton County. Tri County provides services to Madison, Carroll and Newton counties. The team does swift water rescue work and ground searches as well as recovery work in drowning situations.

NW News on 10/10/2017

Print Headline: Agreement reached in case involving Dive Team

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