Suspect in custody after stealing Parkin police car

The car Griffin stole.
The car Griffin stole.
John Griffin (Source: Crittenden County Sheriff's Office)
John Griffin (Source: Crittenden County Sheriff's Office)

(WMC-TV) - Authorities arrested a man wanted for stealing a Parkin, Arkansas police car after a Friday morning chase that spanned three states.

Authorities from across West Tennessee and eastern Arkansas pursued the suspect.  According to Parkin Mayor Charles Patterson, who is also a police officer, the incident started when officers pulled over a speeding vehicle around 7:00 a.m.

Patterson said the suspect, John Griffin, pulled into a yard and then tried to hit him.

"He immediately put the truck in reverse and tried to run me over," Patterson said.

Patterson chased the truck to a nearby home, called for back-up, and then had to fight Griffin.

"We managed to get one handcuff on his right arm," Patterson said. "Some way or another he got loose from us, ran out the door, and left."

Driving Patterson's stolen, marked police cruiser, Griffin led police on a high speed chase through Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

At Lamar and Knight Arnold in Memphis, the rogue cop car slammed into a silver Saturn in aturning lane.

At nearly 120 miles per hour, the chase doubled back toward Parkin, and ended just east of Earle when Arkansas State Police threw down stop sticks.

Police arrested John Griffin, who faces a long list of charges.  And, according to Patterson, it's not the first time this has happened.

"He's done stole vehicles before," Patterson said. "He's been arrested before, and we've had to fight him before. We're in a battle with him all the time."

Angela Thompson and Jasmine James live next to Griffin.

"He is schizophrenic," James said. "He has three different personalities. He's been diagnosed schizophrenic."

James said Griffin is is not a bad person, but needs help.

"He's responsible for everything he did, but if he would have been on his medication he would not have did that," she said.

Patterson was pleased with the end result of what he called a life and death morning.

"This could have been serious," he said. "There could have been deaths."

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