Guilty verdict announced in case involving police chase, crash

Darrell Derone Small

A 10th Judicial District Court jury convicted Darrell Derone Small of Clarence of one count of aggravated obstruction of a highway of commerce.

District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington stated a unanimous guilty verdict was returned at the conclusion of the three-day trial which was the result of an August 2014 crime involving Small intentionally crashing his car into a police vehicle in an attempt to evade capture. The crash injured three law enforcement officers who were occupants of the vehicle. Members of the United States Marshal Fugitive Task Force were previously notified by the Fort Worth, Texas, Police Department that Small was a fugitive from Texas and wanted for the crime of aggravated assault with a firearm. Through investigation and GPS tracking, the Fugitive Task Force learned Small was at a residence in Natchitoches.

The Fugitive Marshal Task Force contacted the Natchitoches City Police Department and Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdiction Drug Task Force for assistance. Thereafter, agents approached the residence where Small was located, whereupon Small fled to his vehicle in an attempt to escape and thereafter intentionally crashed his vehicle into the vehicle occupied by the law enforcement agents. After the guilty verdict was pronounced, presiding Judge Lala Sylvester ordered a pre-sentence investigation. A sentencing date will be set upon completion of the pre-sentence investigation. Harrington stated that aggravated obstruction of a highway of commerce is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Loren Lampert prosecuted the case.

Harrington told the Times that after meeting with US Marshals, City Police and Task Force members, they determined the charges Small was convicted on best fit the facts in the case. Small was originally charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer using a vehicle.

The following story of Small’s arrest was published in the Natchitoches Times Aug. 16-17, 2014.

A man captured by U.S. Marshal’s Task Force and the Natchitoches Parish Multijurisdictional Task Force is being held in the Detention Center awaiting extradition to Fort Worth after he was shot and captured Tuesday on Mill Street. The U.S. Marshals were executing a warrant from the Fort Worth Police Dept. for Darrel Small who was wanted for attempted murder of a man in that city. Federal agents tracked Small to Natchitoches where they believed he had relatives in the Natchitoches and Clarence areas.  The incident began about 5 p.m. Tuesday when deputies from both task forces used four vehicles to establish a perimeter around a residence at 416 McDobson Way near Fairgrounds Road.  Small left the residence and got into his car and saw that he was surrounded. He put his car in reverse and rammed one of the vehicles several times.  One marshals broke his hand and a local task force agent received a cut on his face in the collision. Several of the officers fired shots with one striking Small in the thigh. He then drove forward running the blockade and proceeded onto Rapides Drive and crossed the railroad tracks onto Mill Street. When he reached the L.H. Johnson Wholesale, agents’ vehicles again blocked his car.  Small got out of the car and again resisted arrest and was tazed and handcuffed. He was unarmed.

An ambulance from Natchitoches Regional Medical Center took him to the hospital where he was treated and released and then incarcerated in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center. In addition to the Texas charges, Small is charged with four counts of attempted first degree murder of a police officer using a vehicle. Small is 19 years old and listed a Bayou Drive address in Clarence.