Sheriff: Father, son arrested after threatening deputy with words, gun

Sheriff: Father, son arrested after threatening deputy with words, gun
Stephen Earl Simpson (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)
Stephen Earl Simpson (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A traffic stop ended with a Craighead County sheriff's deputy pulling his weapon on a man and his dad after he said one of the men threatened to "whoop" him while the other reached for a gun to pull on him.

Sgt. Dustin Norwood was patrolling County Road 378 just after midnight Thursday when a Chevy Tahoe pulling a trailer passed him. Norwood noticed the trailer had no lights and turned around to stop it.

The Tahoe appeared to speed up to elude him, Norwood stated in the incident report.

The truck then pulled into a driveway on CR 308, where two other men were standing, and came to a stop.

Norwood pulled up as the driver got out of the vehicle and asked for his license. According to the report, one of the men standing in the driveway, later identified as 63-year-old Stephen Earl Simpson of Bono, appeared to be "extremely intoxicated."

The deputy went to the back of the vehicle to call in the license plate number. That's when he noticed the driver, 36-year-old Stephen Mark Simpson of Jonesboro, had "bladed," or turned the right side of his body away from from the deputy.

"I also noticed that Earl and Mark had begun to speak softly," Norwood reported. "During this time, I heard the distinct sound of metal hitting metal, and I noticed Mark's right arm moving as if he was attempting to conceal something from me."

Norwood pulled out his duty weapon and pointed at the younger Simpson and told him to drop what was in his hand. It was then the deputy saw Mark Simpson was holding a gun.

"As I was giving Mark orders to drop the weapon, he threw it into the seat of the Tahoe he had been driving," Norwood stated.

The deputy then ordered all three men to keep their hands where he could see them, while he radioed for backup.

While waiting for another officer to arrive, Mark Simpson appeared apologetic, Norwood stated. However, "Earl continued to curse me and call me almost every derogatory name he could think of," he said.

Norwood tried to explain why he had the three men at gunpoint, but he said it seemed to make Earl Simpson even angrier.

"At one point Earl told me that 'If you wasn't [sic] who you are, I'd whoop your [expletive].' Earl then advised that he had a gun in his back pocket," Norwood reported. "I advised Earl that if he pulled the gun from his pocket I would shoot him."

Earl Simpson, according to the report, continued to be belligerent.

When Bono Police Officer Jason Fraser arrived on the scene, Norwood continued to hold the men at gunpoint while Fraser secured the gun Earl Simpson had in his back pocket and placed him in wrist restraints. Fraser then placed Mark Simpson in handcuffs.

The officer performed a Terry frisk of the third man, but because of his "calm demeanor," he was not restrained.

During this time, Norwood said Earl Simpson continued cursing him.

After confirming Officer Fraser's body camera was working, Norwood read Earl Simpson is Miranda rights. He said the elder Simpson then confirmed on camera that he had said he would "whoop" Norwood. At that time the deputy arrested him on suspicion of terroristic threatening.

The report stated Dispatch confirmed that Mark Simpson's license was restricted and that his vehicle was supposed to have an interlock device on it. It did not, according to Norwood.

The deputy then placed Mark Simpson under arrest for driving on a restricted license without an interlock device, carrying a weapon, no trailer lights, and failure to register the trailer.

Norwood then searched the vehicle, detecting a "strong odor of marijuana." Inside the driver's door pocket, the deputy reported finding a loaded Rossi .357 revolver. In the front seat he found a .22 rifle loaded with approximately 15 rounds, including one in the chamber. He also reported finding a Ruger LCP and two magazines on Mark Simpson's person.

Inside the center console, the deputy found a pill bottle containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and silver pipe used to smoke marijuana.

Norwood and Deputy Aaron Chadwick, who had also arrived at the scene, transported Mark and Earl Simpson to the Craighead County Detention Center. Upon arriving at the jail, Chadwick told Norwood Earl Simpson had urinated in his patrol vehicle.

"Earl continued verbally assaulting me, to the point his son told him to close his mouth," Norwood reported.

Earl Simpson was cited with terroristic threatening-second degree. Mark Simpson was cited with carrying a weapon, possession of a Schedule VI less than four ounces, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving a vehicle without an interlock device with a license restricted for use with an interlock device, no trailer lights, and failure to register a trailer

Both men were left at the CCDC in lieu of surety bonds and given a court date of June 27.

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