CARMI – A Friday morning incident that began with Carmi Police investigating a report about a car with two people possibly passed out inside on outer Sycamore at James Avenue turned into a pursuit that ended with a crash in White County and the driver’s arrest.
According to a Carmi Police report, officers responded to the scene at 8 a.m. to investigate a navy blue Volkswagen car on outer Sycamore at James Avenue with people inside that appeared to be possibly passed out and had been there for a period of time. Carmi Police and the White County Sheriff’s Office responded to check the vehicle out.
While responded, a Carmi Police officer saw a vehicle matching the description that had pulled into Pundrake’s Grocery. Officers had information that Joshua Bell had been see in a vehicle matching that description and had been reported to have been frequenting the James Avenue and Sycamore area.
Officers knew Bell was wanted on a felony warrant out of Hamilton County and had been recently sentenced to 17 years in state prison and had failed to show up for his sentencing hearing. The felony warrant was four resisting a peace officer, flight, escape, robbery and aggravated battery.
Upon arriving at the James Avenue location, officers saw the vehicle had already left. Now believing that vehicle seen at Pundrake’s was the suspect vehicle, another officer was on the way. Upon arrival it was determined the vehicle was a blue Volkswagen Jetta with no registration plates visible and was determined to be the same vehicle that Bell has been seen driving. Officers were approaching the vehicle as it left the parking lot and turned north on 5th Street. Officers immediately began a traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle began speeding leading to a pursuit. Carmi Police and the White County Sheriff’s Office pursued the vehicle north to the I-64 Burnt Prairie exit before losing sight of the vehicle and discontinuing the pursuit at 8:16 a.m.
Then at 8:21 a.m., White County Dispatch said a Wayne County deputy had found the vehicle after it had crashed in Wayne County at 200 North by 1800 East, west of Barnhill. Officers were told there was one occupant on scene and according to a passerby another male subject has apparently fled on foot to the north.
Carmi Police and the White County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist. Upon arrival they established a perimeter. EMT’s were already tending to the female passenger identified as Bobbie Barnes. Barnes was also found to be wanted out of Hamilton County on a warrant for failure to appear for shoplifting. Barnes was later flown to an area hospital. Bell was driving the vehicle. He was later found by Wayne County deputies and Fairfield Police lying in a deep ditch with water as he was crawling on his belly to try to evade authorities.
Bell was placed under arrest and found to be in possession of meth and paraphernalia. Carmi Police took him back to the scene. He refused medical treatment at that time. Bell was taken to the White County Jail and upon arrival was checked out by the White County Ambulance Service. He was later taken to Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro for an evaluation and was later released.
Bell is being held on the Hamilton County felony warrant. Additional White County charges are expected to be filed on Bell.