Vehicle booking

Ex-storekeeper charged with ramming teen’s vehicle and suffocating him

Jerrell Hightower

An Izard County man, currently charged with theft since he was the operator of the former Sears Hometown store in Mountain Home, is now charged with finishing a teenager’s vehicle and suffocating him later. Jerrell Hightower, 41, of Franklin, was taken to the Izard County Detention Center on Wednesday on two counts of aggravated assault.

According to the probable cause affidavit, an Izard County deputy was sent to the Violet Hill store on Arkansas Highway 56 for a reported altercation. Just before, an Izard County Elementary School Resource Officer had requested an additional unit near the store. When the deputy arrived, the resource officer told him that a 16-year-old accused Hightower of suffocating and threatening him. The victim said she did not need treatment for her injuries.

An Izard County criminal investigator soon arrived and the deputy allegedly told him that Hightower deliberately stopped the teenager’s vehicle on Highway 56 and then placed his hands around the minor’s neck.

Hightower claimed the teenager passed him on the roadway in Franklin and “swept” his vehicle as it pulled into the westbound lane. Hightower said he got angry and tried to get the miner to stop by hitting the back of his truck. The miner reportedly stopped at Violet Hill Post Office. Hightower claimed to have grabbed the teenager’s shirt, but denied putting his hands on the miner’s neck. Franklin’s man would not have been able to show that his vehicle had been damaged by a “side blow”.

The victim said he passed Hightower in Franklin, but said there was no collision. The teenager said as he approached Izard County Elementary School, Hightower allegedly waved his hand and hit the back of his truck. The miner says he pulled over to report a collision to authorities, but Hightower allegedly grabbed him with both hands around his throat and started shaking him. Hightower reportedly released the teenager after saying he was 16.

Hightower is currently free on $5,000 bond. He is not allowed to have any contact with the victim or his family. Hightower is scheduled to appear in Izard County Circuit Court on May 17.

Hightower also faces felony theft of property and misdemeanor falsification of business records in Baxter County. According to the Mountain Home Police Department’s probable cause affidavit, the Sears Hometown store conducted an inventory check in early March 2021 and discovered that a Craftsman lawn mower worth $2,899 was missing. In early July, a customer contacted the company to have a mower repaired, which the company identified as the missing mower.

The customer provided a handwritten receipt and a credit card receipt indicating that Hightower allegedly sold the mower to the customer for $2,000 through a service account that would bypass the company.

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