The story of a woman on a scooter, crossing traffic on U.S. 52 adjacent to Walmart, has continued to take on a life of its own.
A photo of a woman on a scooter being confronted by a New Boston Police officer made the Facebook rounds Thursday.
New Boston Police Officer Bryan Jordan said the NBPD got a call about a shoplifter at Walmart and the shoplifter was attempting to escape the scene on a scooter darting cross the highway.
“I get out there and there’s a scooter in the middle of (U.S.) 52, literally between the westbound and eastbound lanes,” Jordan said. “I asked her what she was doing and she said she was trying to get away from a Walmart worker.”
While in the process of attempting to make an arrest, Jordan said it was determined the woman, identified as Millie Arnett, was paralyzed and could not move her legs.
Later it was discovered that Millie Arnett was on the Top 10 Most Wanted list from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, leading Facebook readers to ask why the police missed the outstanding warrant.
“We didn’t miss it,” New Boston Police Captain Steve Goins said. “The woman did actually have surgery. She was in some kind of accident. My officers looked at her – checked and said she had two big surgery scars up her back and she is paralyzed.”
Goins said the woman was supposed to be at home, but a friend had come and picked her up, took her to Walmart and put her in the scooter.
“My guys ran her and saw that she was wanted,” Goins said. “We called the sheriff’s department, and said, ‘this person stopped up here and you have her in as a warrant person, but she is kind of disabled,’ and she’s pregnant too, I guess, and whoever that dispatcher was checked with some supervisor and they told him they didn’t want to take her.”
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said he had actually removed Arnett from his Top 10 Most Wanted list two weeks ago, but the change had not been made.
“The reason we removed it (her) was we actually talked to her at one other point and time, and talked to the probation department. She was supposed to turn herself in,” Donini said. “The only reason we didn’t arrest her from that particular case is because she had some kind of recent back surgery and is in a wheel chair and we’ve got a policy at our jail – if they can’t be medically cleared – we don’t take them.”
Donini said he had not heard about the incident, but said there are times his department refuses inmates at the Scioto County Jail.
“We would require that the officer take her to the ER and have her evaluated, and the ER would tell us whether or not she would be medically able to be incarcerated in a jail or a facility of that type,” Donini said. “We do that because we don’t want taxpayers footing the bill for something that we the taxpayers aren’t responsible for.”
“Where she was paralyzed there was not need to take her to jail,” Jordan said. “I just issued her a citation to come to court next week.”
Jordan said people all around the scene had pulled out their phones and were taking videos and pictures.
“I’ve only been on the job for two years, and I’ve only been here for almost a year, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” Jordan said. “We deal with Walmart a lot. I’ve seen people run and I’ve seen people fight, spit, kick, and I’ve seen people take off on a scooter, but not take off on a scooter through the parking lot.”
Jordan said the action reminded him of an vintage video game.
“I asked her if she was trying to play Frogger,” Jordan said. “That wasn’t the smartest decision she ever made besides shoplifting.”
Goins said his department did what was supposed to be done.
“We certainly didn’t neglect our part,” Goins said. “I don’t think the sheriff did either, because of that woman’s medical condition.”
What’s the next step?
“The issue is going to be if she doesn’t show up in court then what do we do?” Donini said. “It will be up to the judge. Then the judge is going to have to make that decision as to whether or not to make the taxpayers pay for all the medical bills that she’s obviously going to have whens she’s incarcerated.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.