Judge lowers bond for man accused of dragging police officer

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A man accused of dragging a police officer with his car during a traffic stop in Texarkana, Texas, in May was in court Friday asking for lower bail.

Jaroy Simpson, 25, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four felonies including theft of a firearm, evading arrest or detention in a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance under one gram and aggravated assault on a public servant. His lawyer, Darren Anderson of Texarkana, filed a motion asking that Simpson’s bail on the felonies be reduced and 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart held a hearing Friday to address the motion.

Bail on the firearm charge is set at $15,000. Bail on the possession and evading charges is set at $20,000 on each count and bail on the assault charge was initially set at $150,000.

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Anderson told the court Friday that Simpson is a veteran who served in the Marine Corps and is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and an anxiety disorder. Anderson said that continued incarceration may not only negatively impact Simpson’s benefits from the Veteran’s Administration but could cause his existing psychological conditions to worsen.

Anderson said Simpson’s personal finances are managed by an administrator at the V.A. and said the administrator was surprised to learn of Simpson’s arrest because he is never a problem at the V.A.

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp argued against lowering Simpson’s bail.

“The V.A. may not be having any trouble with him but we are and so is the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department,” Crisp said. “If he has some sort of mental condition that he cannot control and puts lives at risk he needs to be incarcerated where he can’t put others in danger.”

Crisp went on to point out that Simpson was allegedly under the influence at the time of the arrest, that he evaded arrest, that he had weapons in his car and that he injured TTPD Officer Austin Butts. Lockhart said he was reluctant to make dramatic adjustments to Simpson’s bail amounts.

However, Lockhart did agree to allow Simpson to utilize the Bowie County personal recognizance bond program on three of the four felonies. That means Simpson could make bond by paying three percent of the bail amounts rather than 10 percent as is required by commercial bail bonding companies. Lockhart added that the PR bond program requires frequent drug and alcohol testing.

Lockhart declined to allow Simpson to use the PR program to make bond on the aggravated assault charge though he did agree to reduce the bail from $150,000 to $100,000. Lockhart ordered that Simpson will wear a GPS monitor if he is released.

Simpson was pulled over shortly after midnight in the 1500 block of West Seventh Street for an alleged traffic violation, according to a probable cause affidavit. Officers smelled an odor of fresh marijuana coming from the car and ordered Simpson to step out, which he did.

As Officer Colten Johnson was attempting to handcuff Simpson, Simpson allegedly jumped back into his Chevy Malibu as Johnson and Butts attempted to stop him. Johnson was allegedly able to get free of the car as Simpson put it into gear and accelerated but Butts was dragged for some distance.

Simpson drove away but was found a short time later at his mother’s home on West Fifth Street. Simpson was discovered hiding behind the house. Inside the Malibu, officers allegedly recovered marijuana, some suspected Ecstasy pills, a fully loaded 9 mm handgun which had been reported stolen out of Texarkana, Ark., ammunition and an assault-style rifle wrapped in a shirt.

Simpson faces six months to two years in a state jail if convicted of theft of a firearm. Both the evading and drug possession charge are punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If convicted of assaulting Officer Butts, Simpson faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

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