WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — For the first time, we’re seeing the tense and dangerous moments caught on West Memphis police dash cameras during a chase after an accused shoplifter on a busy interstate during rush hour.
It was a Monday in May, around five in the evening, when Walmart employees say they caught Ronald Clinton stealing merchandise and got away in a black Altima.
Officers spotted him and tried to pull him over on the service road before the Altima cut through a grassy ditch and hopped on the busy interstate.
Officers tried to block him several times.
The pursuit reached over 120 miles per hour as they inched closer to the Tennessee border, weaving in between rush hour traffic.
Then, right before the bridge, after mile marker 282, one dash camera shows the Altima hit a police vehicle and spin out, its rear slamming into the cement barricade.
Gunshots rang out, but the Altima peeled off again, heading towards oncoming traffic.
Police swarmed the car. A dash cam on the other side of the crash shows officers cuff Clinton, then perform CPR for the next eight minutes until an ambulance gets there.
An autopsy report states Clinton died at the hospital from a gunshot wound.
State police headed the investigation, and 15 days later, the prosecuting attorney sent a letter clearing the officer, Matt Presely, who opened fire.
“…He used deadly force to prevent Ronald Clinton from using his vehicle to kill Presely, other officers or members of the public,” the letter stated.
Those on the scene that day said it’s just lucky more people weren’t hurt.
We reached out to West Memphis Police, but they denied an interview. We also tried reaching out to Clinton’s family.
Prosecutors are still waiting on the full autopsy and ballistic reports.