WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The son of Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack was arrested and is facing 13 charges after attempting to flee from police in Tontitown.
James Womack, 35, was booked into the Washington County jail on January 23 and his charges include fleeing, criminal mischief, possession of a controlled substance and multiple vehicular charges. A bond amount for the criminal mischief charge was set at $10,000.
According to a Tontitown Police Department incident report, officers spotted a vehicle with an expired license plate near the gas pumps at a mini-mart at approximately 9:40 p.m. Officers watched Womack exit the vehicle, make some purchases inside and then re-arrange items inside his car.
The vehicle drove away and waited at an exit on Highway 412 until another vehicle pulled in behind him. Then they proceeded east and made “an improper right turn by turning into the lane nearest the centerline,” according to the report.
Police initiated a traffic stop and Womack’s vehicle drove towards a curb, then “swerved back east into the westbound lanes.” The suspect then drove on the wrong side of the road, got into a turn lane, and turned north.
Police continued to attempt to stop the vehicle and reported the pursuit to other units. Womack sped up and drove past a stop sign, then “gained speed dramatically reaching speeds of 85 mph” while driving left of center “several times.”
Police reported Womack then made a sharp right turn into oncoming traffic on Highway 412, narrowly missing another vehicle at the intersection. The pursuit reached speeds over 90 mph before an officer attempted a PIT maneuver which was unsuccessful.
The pursuit continued with Womack turning north, then west. During one turn, Womack was “unable to keep the vehicle on the road” and ended up driving into the grass.
Womack’s vehicle got stuck and he exited the vehicle, running west as police vehicles pursued him. Womack fell while attempting to jump over a barbed wire fence.
Police ordered Womack to get on the ground but he continued running, with three officers following him on foot. Police lost sight of him as he ran north, around a residence.
Police searched the area and found Womack “laying down hiding in a row of bushes” near the west side of the home. The suspect was handcuffed and searched, resulting in police finding a container of marijuana.
A search of Womack’s vehicle turned up multiple drug paraphernalia items and a box of handgun ammunition. He told police that he didn’t have a weapon and had purchased the ammunition for a friend. When asked to name that friend, he could not provide an answer.
Womack was read his Miranda Rights, taken into custody and transferred to the Washington County jail.
Womack was previously arrested in Rogers on July 6, 2022. In 2019, he reached a plea agreement on five felony drug and weapons charges and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
In May 2020, Womack was placed on the Arkansas Department of Correction’s (ADC) list of inmates being considered for early release in connection to COVID-19. Inmates considered for early release must not have committed crimes that were sexual and/or violent, according to ADC.
Congressman Womack provided the following statement after his son’s arrest:
“We have been dealing with these issues with our son for a very long time and like so many other families, we understand the challenges of drug addiction. He is fully accountable for his actions. As parents, there is no way to completely describe the pain and the powerless feeling we have in our search for solutions. We pray for all those impacted by this devastating disease that is poisoning our communities.”
Womack has a court date scheduled for January 25.