Suspect from standoff charged with felony fleeing
A local man who fled from a Garland County sheriff’s deputy last month and later prompted a 90-minute standoff and a “soft lockdown” at a nearby school and day care when he refused to get out of his car was charged Thursday with felony fleeing.
Brandon Keith Oswalt, 33, who lists a Poppy Street address, was taken into custody around 1:30 p.m. Thursday at a Little Rock hospital where he had been transferred after being initially evaluated at a local hospital and brought back to Hot Springs on the fleeing charge, punishable by up to six years in prison.
He was initially held on $2,500 bond but appeared via video Friday morning in Garland County District Court where Judge Ralph Ohm increased his bond to $5,000. He pleaded not guilty to the fleeing charge and a felony review hearing is set for Dec. 31. He remained in custody as of Friday afternoon.
According to the probable cause affidavit, on Oct. 29, around 3:15 a.m., sheriff’s deputies received a “Be on the Lookout” alert for Oswalt, who was reportedly driving a silver Ford Fusion, because he had allegedly made suicidal threats and had a history of suicide attempts. He had reportedly last been seen in the area of Crystal Hill and Treasure
Shortly before 7:30 a.m., Deputy Joey Pate responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle near the intersection of highways 128 and 70 east and upon arrival spotted a silver passenger car “with a knife stabbed into the hood.” Pate said he recalled the vehicle matched the description of the one Oswalt was reportedly driving.
As Pate approached the vehicle, the driver, identified as Oswalt, looked at him and said, “Hell no,” and then started the car, driving away at a slow pace. Oswalt allegedly disobeyed Pate’s repeated verbal commands to stop and continued onto Highway 70 traveling east toward Hot Springs.
Pate got back in his unit and began pursuing Oswalt, noting that during the pursuit Oswalt “drove in a reckless manner that displayed indifference to the value of human life” by repeatedly braking his car almost causing Pate to collide with him.
Arkansas State Police took over the pursuit and executed a pit maneuver, disabling Oswalt’s vehicle in the 3100 block of Highway 70 near Crossgate Church. Once stopped, Oswalt refused to get out of the vehicle, prompting a standoff.
Cutter Morning Star School District, which was near the scene of the standoff, was put on “soft lockdown” during the incident “just for precautionary reasons,” according to Superintendent Nancy Anderson.
The Crossgate Learn and Play Preschool, 3102 E. Grand, was also on lockdown during the incident, according to a post on their Facebook page. “The children and teachers are safe inside the building,” it said.
At one point, the Hot Springs Police Department’s MRAP vehicle was brought to the scene, with law enforcement vehicles from multiple agencies blocking the roadway.
After repeated attempts to negotiate with Oswalt, a Taser was deployed and he was taken into custody shortly before 9:30 a.m. without further incident and transported by LifeNet to a local hospital.
The lockdowns were lifted after he was taken into custody and the road reopened. A warrant on the fleeing charge was later issued.