UPDATE: Police Chase Under Investigation After Toddler’s Hospitalized

Authorities are working to figure out why a 25-year-old Heavener man fled from police Friday afternoon. The driver, John Culpepper and his 17-month-old son, are now recovering in the hospital.

That's after authorities say Culpepper's small truck flipped against a wooden pole near Highway 271 following a short police chase Friday afternoon (Oct. 18).

Crews pulled Culpepper's son, who was bleeding in his carseat, from the truck before airlifting him to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock after a medical helicopter landed at the scene around 1:30 p.m.

An ambulance transported the driver from the crash to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith. The man was not moving when he was pulled from the truck. He was placed on a stretcher by first responders.

The driver crashed the truck after police tried to pull the man over. A Pocola officer noticed the truck stopped in the road and went to investigate. The truck sped away and reached high rates of speed before leaving the roadway and flipping on its side against a poll, said Chief Steve Howard.

Investigators now say they're trying to figure out what led Culpepper to run.

"We haven't talked to [Culpepper] yet," said Joshua Butler, with Pocola Police. "We haven't had a real chance to sit down with the family yet so we're still investigating."

Investigators said at this point no charges have been filed against Culpepper.

Authorities said both Culpepper and his baby are expected to be okay. Both are in stable condition as of Saturday morning (Oct. 19).

Culpepper has a history of drug-related charges in LeFlore County, according to authorities. No word yet on if that has anything to do with why he fled.

Filed in: News

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