Highway Pursuit Has Deadly Outcome For Fleeing Suspect

A newly released dashcam video shows a dramatic police chase on Interstate 40 that ended in a deadly shooting on May 21.

Arkansas State Police completed the investigation and turned the findings over to prosecutors, including the following footage that was part of the inquiry.

In the video, we see a West Memphis police car going in pursuit of a black fourth-generation Nissan Altima after receiving reports that it was driven by a runaway shoplifter. Ronald Clinton, 46, was allegedly seen shoplifting from a Mid-South Walmart at around 5 p.m. on May 21, after which he left the store in the Altima and headed for I-40.

The police officers spotted him and tried to pull him over, but he did not stop and started speeding. At one point the police car follows the Altima at 123 mph (198 km/h), but it was only when two additional police vehicles joined the chase that the officers managed to slow him down by boxing him in.

However, that wasn’t enough to stop the alleged shoplifter, who managed a lucky escape out of the box of police cruisers and then drove in the wrong direction down I-40. It was at that moment that one officer fired off five shots at Clinton, later explaining he opened fire because the evader tried to run into him.

Clinton then crashed into a truck, with a coroner later determining he died from a single gunshot to the chest. No officers were injured in the pursuit and the policeman who shot the suspect dead was cleared by the Arkansas State Police.

 

  • pcurve

    You know… is it really worth doing dangerous highway pursuit for shoplifting? I mean, most sane shoplifter would’ve pulled over, but once in a while, you’re going to have unstable person like this. Just let the man go if he doesn’t pull over after short pursuit. Charge him later.

    • brn

      That’s why they should have PITT him right off the bat. Chases are dangerous. End them quickly.

      I’m not judging. Hindsight is pretty good.

    • Mr. EP9

      He committed a crime and they should let him go and charge him later? And what if the dude flees the city or state? Then what? He committed a crime, they had every right to stop him and use whatever forced deemed necessary for public safety.

      Instead of blaming the cops for the outcome of the situation blame the maniac driving the wrong way in traffic because he got caught shoplifting. Had the man stopped, none of this would happen.

      • Dude

        “deemed necessary for public safety”. That’s the point. How is a shoplifter such a public safety risk that a highway chase was necessary? Chases can be dangerous for civilians, unlike shoplifting. And being critical of police actions isn’t blaming them for the outcome. It’s healthy questioning. (given how it took so long to trap him, I’d say it’s warranted) Let’s not boot lick here.

        • Axiom Ethos

          The person who is fleeing the police is the danger to everyone, not the police. If you have the will to run from the police when you know you’re putting other lives in danger by doing so, then you are the one who has major mental issues and should be removed as a threat, even if it means putting other lives on the line in the process.

          • KenjiK

            You’re putting police and criminal’s standards on the same level.

          • Dude

            Unstable criminals exist. The root poster said this. But the question of if they are more dangerous than a high speed chase is a question that should always be assessed. We have the benefit hindsight now, but once it became clear that he was fleeing, they either should’ve trapped him quickly, routed traffic off the highway, or let him go. Just google ‘high speed chase bystander death’. It’s not uncommon. A persistent issue with US policing is that they escalate instead of de-escalate.

    • TheBelltower

      At what point exactly do you think they should have let him go? It started out as something relatively small, then escalated into assault with a deadly weapon. You don’t just let him go once he’s proven to be what he is.

      • pcurve

        If the pursuit was going after shoplifter, then I would’ve stopped the pursuit if the suspect didn’t pull over after a few minutes, rather than doing high speed pursuit or performing maneuver that would put public in danger. If it were armed robbery, murder suspect, kidnapping, then it’s a different story.

        • TheBelltower

          I get that. Ideally, it would be best if they could have gotten ahead of him miles ahead of the chase and block the road. But they didn’t. They had multiple opportunities to box him in, and he managed to escape. At that point, there’s no way they’re letting him go. Once they can claim vehicular assault, the outcome is all but determined.

    • дапвт

      And if the car is stolen? Then what? Police are there to enforce the law. It is that simple. People complain that police doesn’t do their jobs. Then people complain that they do their jobs.

      • pcurve

        the article said this was a shop lifting case. Doesn’t say anything about stolen car. And even if it were stolen car, so what? It’s just a property. Yes, you should pursue, but do so in safe speed and manner. Any time police feels the pursuit puts other people in danger, it should be stopped unless they are pursuing dangerous criminal. We can’t assume that everyone who flees from cops to be dangerous.

  • Хиллари сосет киску

    Glad he was stopped before he killed or seriously injured an innocent. This reminds me of the 18 year old pos idiot that killed a mother and daughter going the wrong way on a freeway in San Diego recently.

  • cooper

    For one thing those highway patrol officers need some more education on how to trap in a suspect.

    • BlackPegasus

      I’m finding it incredibly astonishing that police officers aren’t trained in these matters. They also lack the physical training needed to take down unarmed suspects.

      • Dude

        >police lack training

        That is the least shocking thing I’ve ever heard

    • дапвт

      This isn’t a video game. It’s not as easy as you think.

      • brn

        Armchair quarterbacks.

      • Maximilian Norlande Rabbitt

        Then they should take note. Like NOT leaving a gap for the driver to escape from, practicing advanced maneuvers frequently to make sure working as a team (more than 2) is easier. Lastly, better judgement. Don’t be so quick to jump out of the car, unless you skipped leg day, of course.

  • BlackPegasus

    Personally, I’m glad the cretins are dead.

    • bxniels0

      Wow. Just wow *smh*

  • Kebbie Prime

    Good job!
    PUNISH THE GUILTY!

  • Liam Paul

    so from all these comments, the cops were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. This is why I would never be a cop. fact, the guy stole and knew he broke a law, fact, he could had pulled over, fact he aim his truck at a policer so he was willing to run into the police officer risking the cops life, fact the cop acted in self defence. fact now the guy is dead. case closed

  • Matthew Boyd

    This isn’t automotive news. I’ll watch the local news if I want to see some depressing craziness…come on guys. Let us get back to our regularly scheduled programing.

  • Paul

    My Hell these cops were stupid. They could have ended it up against that center cement wall considering they had three vehicles. The perp then could not have exited his vehicle and been captured.

  • Ron

    This is how almost all Altima owners drive here in Orlando. Looked like a normal day down I-4 to me.

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