Oakland man gets jail time and probation on a number of charges

Photo: Austin Douglas Potts   

An Oakland man charged in one incident that sent a Baxter County sheriff’s deputy to the hospital and in another with false imprisonment and domestic battery pled guilty during a session of Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday.

Twenty-four-year-old Austin Douglas Potts was put on probation for five years and ordered to spend 60 days in the county jail. He was also ordered to pay about $3,500 in restitution.

Fourteenth Judicial District Prosecutor David Ethredge told the court that Pott’s sentence had been worked out in “collaboration and with the agreement of law enforcement.”

Potts also has two open criminal cases in Washington County.

The allegations against Potts include injuring a Baxter County sheriff’s deputy while trying to flee on his motorcycle.

He is also charged with being violent to a female with whom he had a previous relationship.

There are also a number of misdemeanor charges against him.

The incident involving the deputy began in the early morning hours of Sept. 6 last year.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the deputy saw a motorcycle pulling out of a closed access road in the Pigeon Creek area of Lake Norfork.

The deputy attempted a traffic stop on State Highway 201 after seeing the bike’s tail light was not working.

The biker, later identified as Potts, refused to stop and a pursuit began. A second deputy became involved.

Potts stopped at one point, but would not obey orders to get off the bike and began trying to maneuver around the deputy.

A stun gun was used on Potts to no effect. As he was trying to get away, Potts’ bike struck a deputy, knocking him to the ground.

The deputy was treated for his injuries at Baxter Regional Medical Center (BRMC) and released.

The bike was again seen on U.S. Highway 62B in Mountain Home. Mountain Home police officers joined the chase.

Potts entered a subdivision near BRMC and traveled some distance without lights.

A short time later, a man was spotted on foot near the hospital’s parking garage. He was detained and identified as Potts.

The probes from the stun gun were still clinging to Potts’ clothing. He gave officers a fake name initially. The motorcycle was later located near the hospital’s helipad.

Charges in his other Baxter County case stemmed from events in late January, Potts is accused of going into a local restaurant and asking his ex-girlfriend to accompany him outside to talk.

The woman lives in Northwest Arkansas but has connections to Mountain Home. She was here visiting friends when the altercation with Potts occurred, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The woman agreed to have a conversation with Potts, but after getting into his truck, the victim alleged Potts drove off with her in the vehicle.

The victim said Potts prevented her from jumping out of the truck by holding onto her shirt.

She said he began screaming at her. They eventually pulled into the parking lot of an industrial plant located along State Highway 5 North.

The woman said Potts told her to get out of the truck. He pushed her against the vehicle and began hitting her.

The victim said Potts threw her to the ground several times and choked her.

She told investigators she was also kicked while on the ground. The violence lasted for about 20 minutes, the victim reported.

As they drove back toward Mountain Home, the victim said she jumped out of the truck and got away from Potts.

She was able to get a ride back to the restaurant where her vehicle was located.

Potts is alleged to have returned to the restaurant as well, but was reported to have been “run off” by the woman’s friends.

Potts also faces charges in Washington County stemming from a mid-February violent altercation with the same woman and her brother.

At one point during the incident in Northwest Arkansas, Potts was alleged to have attempted to run over the brother with his truck.

The charges against Potts include aggravated assault, false imprisonment and domestic battery.

Potts was also put on probation on charges filed against him in Oklahoma in 2019.

He is alleged to have become angry with two members of a college fishing team for reportedly being too close to a marina on Lake Cobb in Oklahoma.

As a result of the Aug. 27, 2019 confrontation, Potts was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and boating violations, including not having current registration and failure to have required equipment.

He was not immediately taken into custody. He was arrested in Marion County Nov. 7, 2019 for drunk driving and, according to court records, extradited to Oklahoma.

At the time of the incident, Potts was described as a contractor who was installing a new roof on the Sunset Cove Marina on the Oklahoma lake.

The two teenage fishermen, who were on the lake for a practice session, took videos of Potts and an unidentified male in an aluminum jon boat repeatedly ramming their fiberglass bass boat.

The ramming resulted in a crack in the hull of the bass boat and damage to both the outboard and trolling motors.

The video was played on several Oklahoma television stations and went viral on the web. The story was also picked up by a number of national fishing publications.

One website devoted to bass fishing called it the “craziest fishing confrontation we’ve ever seen.”

Potts was identified as the person driving the boat, as it repeatedly rammed into the one occupied by the teens.

Prior to taking to the water, Potts was reported to have thrown nails and screws at the two young men, cursed and pulled down his pants.

The college students said they were obeying a sign that said no fishing was allowed within 150 feet of the dock.

Potts allegedly admitted to investigators he had hit the teens’ boat. He said they had been disrespectful to the workers on the roof.

In investigative and court records, Potts apparently had no connection to the Oklahoma marina, except the roofing work.

The marina owner quickly put out a statement confirming that fact.

Potts was placed on probation for five years in the Oklahoma case. He was to be supervised until all fines, fees, court costs and restitution were paid.

According to court records, he would then remain on unsupervised probation for whatever remained of the 60-month sentence.

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