Week in Review 11-26 to 12-2

Affidavit released regarding Flippin Police Chief's arrest

An affidavit was released Monday afternoon in the case against former Flippin Police Chief Ronald Dustin Smith who was arrested and charged with felony theft Monday. According to the affidavit, Arkansas State Police Special Agent Justin Nowlin received a letter form 14th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge on October 23 requesting an investigation into the misuse of over $8,000 in funds from the City of Flippin.

Nowlin interviewed the keeper of records for the City of Flippin, identified only as a part-time employee, who had reported the incident to Flippin City Mayor Jerald Marberry. According to the employee, she received an email from a bank saying Smith's city credit card was within twenty percent of it's limit. This was a concern because Smith was apparently on vacation from the Flippin Police Department and heading to Florida to work for a private company. An October bank statement noted $3,700 on Smith's card. Ninety percent of those charges were from outside the state of Arkansas.

All Flippin police officers are to use their issued credit cards for business purposes only, specifically for fuel or work equipment.

The affidavit notes another officer did similar private work and did not use his government issued card. It also says Smith was off duty and most of the accumulated charges occurred enroute to Florida.

Smith was involved in a lawsuit in May 2016 and was demoted to the department's media spokesperson. The lawsuit stemmed from accusations of a false arrest. The city eventually paid $20,000 to settle.

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Mountain Home man facing attempted murder charges

A Mountain Home man, 45-year-old Darrey Lynn Hart, is facing a felony attempted murder charge after a domestic violence incident Wednesday. According to Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, Hart was booked into the Baxter County Jail on the charge, as well as a charge of felony domestic battery in the first degree. He is being held on a $100,000 bond and Montgomery says he is expected to appear Thursday in Baxter County Circuit Court to answer the charges. Hart is currently on parole in Arkansas and officials say he appears to have an extensive arrest history in Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana.

According to Montgomery, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from Baxter Regional Medical Center Wednesday afternoon indicating a man and a woman had come to the emergency room after being cut and injured by a third party residing in their home on Big Pond Circle. Deputies responded to the hospital and made contact with the victims, a man and his wife, both 60-years-old.

The man told deputies he had gone home to his residence at approximately 12:15 Wednesday and found his wife and Hart were in an argument. The man intervened in the altercation. A fight broke out between the two men. The victims then stated Hart made verbal threats saying he was going to kill the man and came after him with a knife.

The woman got between the two men to try and separate them, and a struggle for the knife ensued. Both the man and the woman were cut by Hart and sustained injuries requiring medical treatment. Hart left the scene after the fight occurred, and the man and woman drove themselves to the hospital emergency room.

Sheriff’s Investigators interviewed the victims and also processed the crime scene at the residence on Big Pond Circle. The knife used in the attack was found and taken into evidence. Deputies were given descriptive information on Hart and the vehicle he was driving and began looking for him.

He was found at a motel in Mountain Home Wednesday evening and taken into custody. After being interrogated by Sheriff’s Investigators and reviewing the evidence, Hart was officially charged.

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Tennessee Top 10 Most Wanted fugitive captured in Boone County

A fugitive who was added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted list in October is now in custody, after being captured in Arkansas early Friday morning.

Boone County Sheriff Mike Moore says 34-year-old James Rush Huddleston was wanted by the Spring Hill Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to face a charge of criminal homicide. The charge is in connection to a shooting October 29th at a residence resulting in the death of 35-year-old Phillip Pero of Hohenwald.

TBI Special Agents and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force developed information indicating Huddleston was in Omaha in Boone County. He was arrested by the West Arkansas U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in the early morning hours Friday. He is currently being held in the Boone County Jail, pending extradition to Tennessee.

Sheriff Moore, along with two Boone County Investigators, escorted Huddleston to the Boone County Circuit Court Friday for a hearing where the fugitive waived his extradition. Huddleston will be returned to Tennessee to face his charges.

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New fishing boat brand to be manufactured in Flippin

A new business venture was introduced Friday at the Forrest L. Wood Outdoor Sports Gallery in Flippin. A ribbon cutting soon followed at Flippin Industrial Park, with Ranger Boats founders Forrest and Nina Wood participating, as Advanced Marine Performance, LLC, introduced "Vexus" as a new brand of fishing boats to be manufactured in the Twin Lakes Area.

Advanced Marine Performance President Keith Daffron says this is a project that has been in the works for a while, and the company was excited for its launch.

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The new facility is currently under construction at 727 West Industrial Park Road in Flippin. The 115,000-square foot manufacturing plant will specialize in the production of aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats and custom-matched trailers. Daffron says the company is looking to be in its new location by March of 2018. In addition, he says they plan to unveil their first models of boats that month at the Bassmasters Classic in Greenville, South Carolina.

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According to Advanced Marine Performance, LLC, many of the company's crafstmen are familiar faces. Daffron also says the business could bring the possibility of additional jobs to Marion County.

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Updates on the progress will be available online at vexusboats.com and on Facebook.

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Friday double banner day for BRMC for cardiac care

Friday was a double banner day for Baxter Regional Medical Center and the patients served in the hospital's 14-county service area.

Healthgrades, a national physician, hospital and healthcare provider rating company based in Denver, announced BRMC has been recognized as the only medical center in Arkansas to be named among its rankings of American's 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery in 2018. This is the fourth consecutive year for BRMC to be named one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery, and it is the only hospital in Arkansas to achieve this distinction.

In addition, the national company announced BRMC is the only hospital in Arkansas to achieve its Patient Safety Excellence Award in 2017.

The awards are based on actual patient outcomes at the local hospital.

Healthgrades is touted as the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. The company evaluates performance annually at nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide for 34 of the most common inpatient procedures and conditions.

Garret Spry, Director of Quality Solutions for Healthgrades, traveled from Denver to make the announcements he described as rare, particularly in a community hospital setting.


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Spry says the span of time BRMC's American's 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care awards stretches is a significant distinction.


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In accepting the two awards, BRMC President and CEO Ron Peterson says its affirmation of the reductions in mortality and complications being achieved.

Peterson recognized the physicians in attendance, Dr. Louis Elkins, cardiovascular surgeon, and Dr. Patrick Tobbia, cardiologist, as well as BRMC Heart Team staff members, before the unveiling of two large banners dropped from the roof and spanning two wings of the medical center announcing the awards.

The Healthgrades 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award recognizes superior performance in hospitals preventing the occurrence of serious, potentially avoidable complications for patients during their stays.

The distinction places BRMC among the top 5 percent of hospitals reporting patient safety data in the nation for its excellent performance as evaluated by Healthgrades. During the 2013-2015 study period, Healthgrades found that patients treated in hospitals receiving the Patient Safety Excellence Award were on average 40 percent less likely to experience an accidental puncture or laceration during a procedure than patients treated at non-recipient hospitals.

In addition, these patients were 44.6 percent less likely to experience a collapsed lung due to a procedure or surgery in or around the chest than patients treated at non-recipient hospitals. Further, these patients were 54.4 percent less likely to experience catheter-related bloodstream infections acquired at the hospital than patients treated at non-recipient hospitals.

On average 134,568 patient safety events could have been avoided if all hospitals, as a group from 2013 to 2015, performed similarly to hospitals performing better than expected on each of 13 patient safety indicators evaluated by Healthgrades.

These achievements are part of findings released by Healthgrades and are featured in the company's 2018 Report to the Nation. The report demonstrates how clinical performance continues to differ dramatically between hospitals nationally, regionally and at the local level, and the impact this variation may have on health outcomes.

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