A local man was arrested on felony charges Monday after he allegedly fled briefly from Hot Springs police who later found cocaine in his vehicle.
Byron Lawvan Ray, 32, who lists a Pearl Street address, was taken into custody shortly before 3 p.m. and charged with unauthorized use of another person's property to facilitate a crime, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, punishable by up to six years, and misdemeanor counts of fleeing in a vehicle and driving on a suspended driver's license.
Ray, who had multiple warrants for failure to appear and failure to comply, was being held on a zero bond and is set to appear today in Garland County District Court. According to court records, he was convicted on Oct. 5, 2015, on felony drug charges involving meth and Xanax and was sentenced to 10 years' supervised probation.
According to the probable cause affidavit, around 2:45 p.m. Monday, Officer 1st Class John Albright saw a white Toyota Camry with dealer tags that had an expired registration traveling eastbound on East Grand Avenue just past Valley Street, so he activated his lights to make a traffic stop.
The vehicle turned into Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, 130 E. Grand, where it allegedly "made multiple laps" around the restaurant failing to yield to lights or sirens and then turned back onto East Grand briefly before pulling into the parking lot of Cash Saver, 800 Malvern Ave., and traveling across the whole lot before finally stopping.
A "high-risk stop" was conducted and Albright began to instruct the driver, later identified as Ray, to show his hands, but he was allegedly noncompliant and would not keep his hands visible. Albright noted the front seat female passenger was "completely compliant."
As more officers arrived, Albright commanded Ray to exit the vehicle with his hands in the air and face away from officers, but instead Ray reportedly "grew more irate." He was ordered to walk backward toward Albright and finally came within 6 feet of officers and was told to get on his knees.
Ray instead reportedly turned toward the officers and "became argumentative." Albright noted Ray was too close for him to deploy his Taser so he used his hands to pull Ray to the ground where he was finally taken into custody.
The passenger was detained and since Ray had a search waiver on file the vehicle was searched. During the search, officers allegedly found a green bag with a clear baggie containing 0.3 grams of what later tested positive for cocaine.
In addition to charges from the incident, Ray was served with five active warrants.