BENTONVILLE – A Rogers woman was sentenced to 22 years in prison in connection with an incident where she attempted to flee from police.
Melody George, 30, pleaded guilty Tuesday to battery, killing or injuring animals used by law enforcement, aggravated assault, two counts of criminal mischief, possession of a controlled substance, theft by receiving and resisting arrest. The plea was under an agreement Jonathan Nelson, George's attorney, reached with Wilson Raines, deputy prosecutor.
Bentonville police officers were called on Feb. 17, 2020, to the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 906 S.W. Regional Airport Blvd. for a suspicious activity call, according to a probable cause affidavit. A caller had reported two adults were in the back of a Pontiac Montana possibly doing drugs, according to the affidavit.
Sayer Smith, a Bentonville police officer, approached the vehicle and knocked on one of the windows, according to the affidavit. A man opened the door and the officer saw a plastic Ziploc bag in the man's right hand, according to the affidavit.
George was in the car with the man, according to the affidavit.
Smith asked for consent to search the vehicle, but the two declined the request. Smith requested another officer come to the scene with his K-9 officer, according to the affidavit.
George jumped in the driver's seat, put the key in the ignition and attempted to shift the vehicle into drive, according to the affidavit. Smith grabbed the gear shift and ordered George to stop, and the two continued to struggle over the keys and gear shift, the affidavit states.
Michael Alexander, another Bentonville officer, arrived at the scene with his K-9 Bico, according to the affidavit. Alexander released his dog into the vehicle after George failed to comply with orders, according to the affidavit.
George drove forward and struck a light pole in the parking lot, according to the affidavit. Smith was in the driver's doorway and the collision knocked him to the ground. He suffered a right ankle and left knee sprain, according to affidavit.
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The dog -- Bico -- was slammed into the front dash and fell limp to the floor, according to the affidavit. The second officer opened the door to get Bico out of the car, according to the affidavit. Bico survived the incident.
George put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated into the front bumper of Alexander's patrol vehicle, according to the affidavit.
Smith saw the man attempting to flee and apprehended him, according to the affidavit.
George then accelerated forward again and hit a truck. Alexander was able to get his foot on the brake pedal and subdue George, according to the affidavit.
Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green accepted the plea agreement and George's guilty plea. She followed the terms of the plea agreement and sentenced George to 12 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Green previously sentenced George to 10 years for violating the terms of her probation.
The sentences will be served consecutively, which gives George a 22-year sentence.