Mississippi County Sheriff: "I think it was just an innocent mistake."
MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook said he was not driving 100 miles per hour in his patrol car, disputing a report filed by a Blytheville police officer.
"They first said they were looking at a Ford Mustang. I don't drive a Ford Mustang, so I'm not sure what they were looking at," said Sheriff Cook.
Blytheville police officer Branton Hall reported Friday, February 21, that what looked like a Ford Mustang "flew by him" and backup police officer Michael Zwerlein near Save A Lot Grocery Store on West Main Street in Blytheville around 8:16 p.m.
Sheriff Cook does not deny he was speeding in the black Dodge Charger seen in the police dash cam video.
"Probably 10 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit, I'm guessing, but we were not close to what was alleged and there's no proof in their report of that, and it just didn't happen."
"When you're pursuing another vehicle, regardless of what speed their running you're going to have to run 30 miles or more per hour to catch that pursued vehicle, and based on their report and what their camera said they reached, 97 miles per hour, there's just no way I was running that fast."
The dash cam video of the Blytheville officer's speed displays speeds that vary from 80 to just above 90 miles per hour during the officer's pursuit. Officer Hall can be heard throughout the video saying the car is "going about a hundred" and "not slowing down."
Flashing blue lights from the Blytheville officer's patrol car cannot be seen on the video, but multiple cars are seen pulling to the side of the road as the Blytheville patrol car advances down the street.
Sheriff Cook said he was on the way to a campaign stop in Gosnell when the officers were following him.
"I was going to three different campaign events Friday night."
In the video, once Sheriff Cook stopped his car and flashed his blue lights, the Blytheville officer did a U-turn and left the scene.
Sheriff Cook recalled preparing to get out of his car and seeing in his rearview mirror two headlights from a car. He then saw another car pull up and turn a blue light on, then off.
Sheriff Cook said he flashed his lights to let the officers know he was an officer and the car was not stolen. He said the officers drove away as he was getting out of his car and he had no conversation with them.
Sheriff Cook believes the officers made an innocent mistake.
"I understand that these were new, young patrol officers and I have nothing against these guys."
Officer Branton Hall is 22 years old and has been with the Blytheville Police Department since January 2013, according to Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson.
Officer Michael Zwerlein is 43 years old and has been with the Blytheville Police Department since June 2013.
Chief Thompson said his officers followed proper procedure and he is pleased with how they handled the situation.