15-Year-Old Teen Sets Fire to Jonesboro Police Van, Escapes

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A 15-year-old allegedly set fire to a police van he was being transported in, then assaulted a 65-year-old probation officer before attempting to escape. He was later apprehended.

Police have not released the suspects name, due to his juvenile status, but according to reports, the Greene County teen was being transported from Harrisburg to Jonesboro for a court appearance when he somehow set the police vehicle on fire.

As one officer was putting out the fire, police say the 15-year-old struck 65-year-old Sue Clayton, a Greene County juvenile probation officer, with his handcuffs.

Responding police officers were told the youth ran east into a ditch, following the attack. Clayton's arm was injured during the struggle, but the severity of the injury is not known. It is not believed to be serious.

The other probation officer who was putting the fire out was unhurt.

The two probation officers say they first noticed something amiss when they smelled something and after turning around, they knew that "something" was a fire in the back of the van.

Jonesboro Patrolman John McGee, who responded to assist the officers, says the prisoner grabbed the officer's keys before running, taking off the handcuffs during his escape.

Officers later found the teen on Morningside Drive and arrested him without incident. He is being held on suspicion of arson, robbery, second-degree battery, third-degree escape, fleeing and theft of property.

The fire was started with cigarettes and a lighter, but police are not sure how he obtained either of the items.