Speeding through school zone ends in man’s arrest for stolen vehicle

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A school zone traffic stop landed a local man in trouble with law enforcement.

Donald Ray Chark, 58, of the 500 block of Graveyard St., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft of a motor vehicle, traveling 28 in a 15 mph school zone, window tint and possession of marijuana.

Deputy Chief Tokia Harrison said Officer Cayden O’Connor was conducting stationary radar on Joel Street in J.L. Jones’ school zone Friday around 2 p.m., when he observed a white Nissan Altima with a Texas plate speeding in the zone.

“Officer O’Connor initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Pershing and Joel streets where he made contact with the driver, later identified as Chark,” Harrison said. “He provided the officer with a driver’s license but said he did not have registration or insurance for the vehicle.”

A check by dispatch confirmed the vehicle and plate were stolen.

“Officer Ben Sparks arrived on the scene and approached the passenger side of the vehicle,” Harrison said. “The officer said he could smell marijuana emitting from the vehicle.”

Off. O’Connor reported he searched the vehicle while Off. Sparks talked with Chark. He reportedly discovered a 25 caliber pistol and suspected marijuana in a black container located in the driver’s side door.

The Nissan was reported stolen June 12 by the registered owner.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.