West Memphis Police release dash cam video after man dies following leap from bridge during pursuit

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The West Memphis Police Department released video of a man jumping from a bridge during a police chase after a woman claimed on social media that police had killed him.

On April 17, officers were dispatched to 210 W. Service Road for a loitering complaint.

An Arkansas State Trooper also responded to the call, police said.

A suspect in a maroon Nissan Rogue attempted to leave the scene, accelerating toward the trooper.

The trooper jumped out of the way to avoid being hit, and a police chase ensued.

The pursuit involved speeds over 100 mph on I-55, police said.

Arkansas State Police initiated a ‘PIT’ maneuver, which caused the suspect’s vehicle to hit and outside barrier before coming to a stop on I-55 just before crossing the bridge into Memphis.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as Darin Woodard, jumped out through a rear passenger door and jumped over the bridge, landing approximately 40-50 feet below, police said.

He was rushed to Regional One, where he died.

A passenger in the vehicle was detained.

West Memphis Police said the passenger subsequently took to social media claiming police had murdered Woodard.

The WMPD’s statement about the event read, in part:

It has been brought to the attention of the West Memphis Police Department that the passenger of the vehicle, Ella Comfort, has been on social media making outlandish allegations that this agency murdered Darin Woodard. An allegation that will not be ignored nor taken lightly. Anytime there is a loss of life it is always unfortunate but the grief you experience and how you chose to deal with it will not come at the expense of the integrity of the West Memphis Police Department. Ms. Comfort stated that we murdered Darin Woodard, threatened her and that she is seeking “justice”. The entire pursuit is on the dashcam of the pursuing officers, and you can see Mr. Woodard jump over the barrier wall after the vehicle came to a stop before officers could get to him. Due to these heinous allegations, the family sought answers and was shown the very same footage that will be released to the public accompanying this statement. At a time when the family should be grieving the loss of a family member, they were bombarded with lies as to what took place. The men and women of the department work tirelessly to protect this community and continue to make efforts to strengthen the trust of the citizens. This is an unfortunate example of what law enforcement deals with daily and it needs to stop. We will continue to make every effort to exude professionalism and transparency so that we can continue to be the police department this community can depend on.