Police admit wrong man arrested, charged for two months

(KATV)   It’s been two months since police made an arrest in a hit-and-run accident but Monday, they announced they had the wrong man the whole time.

Police tell us Steve Kissinger from Searcy is no longer being charged with the crime, but he said LRPD has yet to tell him he’s been cleared of all accusations.

Charged with a felony crime but knowing inside you’re completely innocent. It’s something none of us want to ever experience, but Kissinger told us he’s been through it ever since cops showed up at his work, and arrested him without any questioning.

A close glance may show a striking resemblance between Kissinger and the new person accused of the incident, Claude Smith.

Monday Smith turned himself in to LRPD for the January hit-and-run that left a Hillcrest woman in critical condition.

For at least two months now, its been Kissinger who was charged with the crime.

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“It has been a financial hardship; um it’s a nightmare that I wouldn’t want anybody to have to go through,” Kissinger said when speaking publicly for the first time since his wrongful arrest.

Witness accounts from the scene in Hillcrest gave police a partial license plate and truck model, with each matching Kissinger’s white Ford F-150.

One witness even picked him out of a lineup, but without receiving any contact from police before his arrest, he still doesn’t think it adds up.

“I’ve thought about it a lot and I know there are many things that could’ve been done differently to avoid this,” Kissinger added.

The Sunday it happened, Kissinger said he was at home with his wife and two kids.

“I had to look it up just to find out where it was. I’ve never been to that area,” he told us Monday.

“A person shouldn’t have to go through this, but you know you find out who your friends are in a situation like this and I really did.”

Kissinger’s expenses so far included posting bond, getting his truck out of impound and attorney fees. He said it’s all still so fresh he’s not sure if he’ll file a lawsuit next against LRPD.

After reaching out to LRPD multiple times Monday we received no return comment.

Smith faces multiple charges including felony hit and run.


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