BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Rogers woman was sentenced to 22 years in prison on charges stemming from an incident in which she attempted to flee officers and injured a police K9 while in possession of drugs.
Melody George, 30, entered a guilty plea to multiple charges in Benton County circuit court on February 21. She was arrested on February 17, 2020, after Bentonville police officers were sent to a grocery store parking lot for a suspicious activity call.
According to court documents, the person that made the report said that there were two adults in the back seat of a van “possibly doing drugs.” An officer drove by the vehicle in question, saw two people sitting in the middle seats and said they “immediately looked down” and avoided looking in his direction.
The officer approached the vehicle and saw them “frantically looking around and ducking.” He knocked on a rear window and a man inside opened the van’s door with his left hand. The police officer observed a plastic bag crumpled up in the man’s other hand, according to a police report.
The officer said both of the van’s occupants were visibly nervous and he saw the man’s carotid artery “pulsing in the side of his neck.” After they declined to allow a search of their vehicle, the officer told a K9 corporal to proceed to the location with his K9.
The officer told the pair in the van that they were not free to leave, but George jumped into the driver’s seat and said, “We’re leaving.” The officer opened the driver’s side door but George still put the keys in the ignition, started the engine, and attempted to put the van into drive.
The officer grabbed the gearshift, put the vehicle into park and instructed them both to stay inside. The officer and George “continued to fight over the keys and the gear shift,” according to court documents. When the officer gave her multiple orders to stop, she screamed obscenities at him.
The man exited the vehicle and the officer pushed him into the back seat with an open hand. The K9 officer then arrived and announced that he was going to release his dog, Bico.
The first officer removed the vehicle’s passenger and ordered him to the ground and both police informed George that “she was going to be bit by K9 Bico if she didn’t stop.” She continued screaming and did not comply with orders, so the dog was released and jumped into the suspect’s van.
George started the van and drove into a light pole in the parking lot. One of the officers, located in the driver’s doorway, was knocked to the ground.
K9 Bico “was slammed into the front dash and fell limp to the floor between the seats,” the report said. The van’s sliding door closed on impact and the K9 corporal opened it to get the dog out.
K9 Bico “staggered around” but soon became alert and was sent to re-engage the suspect. She put the van into reverse and backed into the front bumper of the K9 patrol vehicle, carrying the corporal, who became caught after the collision.
The passenger attempted to run away but was taken down and handcuffed by the first officer. While this happened, George put her van in drive again and “rapidly accelerated forward,” this time striking a truck.
The K9 corporal was able to put his foot on the van’s brake pedal before George attempted to put it in reverse again. He then delivered “a number one elbow strike taught to him in Krav Maga training” at the corner of her left eye and temple. This allowed the officer to put the van into park.
George was removed from the vehicle, kept on the ground and placed in handcuffs as she “began to yell at him for striking her.”
An inventory of the van turned up an assortment of different controlled substances. Investigators also found another woman’s wallet and learned that her purse had recently been stolen after her vehicle was broken into at her home.
The injured police officer and K9 Bico both recovered from their injuries and returned to active duty. George was charged with 11 violations, including battery, injuring or killing an animal used by a law enforcement agency, aggravated assault, possession of a controlled substance and fleeing.