Man Accused of Stealing Gas Leads Deputies, ASP on 8-Hour Chase

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A Missouri man was arrested in Johnson County Thursday morning after leading Arkansas State Troopers on an 8-hour pursuit.

William Eugene Hammer, 48, of Sikeston, Mo., is charged multiple counts of criminal mischief, theft of motor fuel and a slew of traffic violations.

Hammer appeared before Circuit Judge Bill Pearson on Friday where his bond was set at $20,000. He’s expected to appear in Johnson County Circuit Court on Jan. 4.

The incident began Thursday evening when Hammer and his passenger drove off from Murphy U.S.A in Clarksville without paying for $60.01 in fuel. 

Clarksville Police and state troopers began looking for Hammer in a 2005 Dodge Dakota.

Police attempted to stop the vehicle which was traveling west on I-40 near the 48 mile marker, but Hammer sped away in the truck. The chase continued north on Highway 164 to the Hunt Community.

Hammer took the chase off-road near and drove through a barbed-wire fence and into a field. Police say hammer ditched the truck and his passenger in a dry creek bed.

A helicopter and K9 units were brought in to track Hammer. Police searched thick underbrush, houses, outbuildings and vehicles for more than two hours with the dogs and infrared equipment before it was scaled back, according to a report from the sheriff’s office.

Just before 1 a.m., a resident of Private Road 3135 called to deputies and said that a man came to his residence asking for a ride to town.  

Hammer was found outside the residence lying in a hole. He was taken into custody without incidence, according to the report.

Hammer’s passenger was injured when the vehicle he was driving wrecked in the creek bed.  She was transported to Johnson Regional Medical Center for treatment and was released.