Court documents say Partee had a zero-degree hot tub soak and hospital visit before fleeing here
Court documents filed in Howell County give some insight into what suspect Jeremiah Partee was doing before he reportedly came into Ozark County Feb. 14 in a stolen truck, hooked onto a stolen trailer, attempted to cross Lick Creek and got stuck and then fled from officers on foot before allegedly stealing another vehicle. (See “Truck and trailer abandoned in Lick Creek by suspect accused of multiple vehicle thefts” in last week’s Times.)
The West Plains Daily Quill reported last week that Howell County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a home on JJ Highway in Howell County at 9:47 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, after a resident said a man was seen driving a truck away from the location without the permission of the owner. The owner reportedly grabbed a handgun in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the theft.
“The next morning, Feb. 14, the sheriff’s department got a call that a man was in a hot tub located on a patio in the Arrowhead Lakes subdivision, and the homeowners didn’t know who the man was,” the Quill reported. “Deputies found Partee in the hot tub, submerged in water, while the outdoor temperature, they noted, was around zero degrees with wind chills below zero.”
Not yet a suspect in the theft, Partee was taken into custody for his own safety and questioned about a pickup and trailer seen parked near the hot tub residence. He told officers the truck was his and he wasn’t sure how the trailer, later determined to be stolen from West Plains-based Endurance Church, became attached to the vehicle, the Quill said.
“Partee was given dry jail clothing at the Howell County Jail and taken to Ozarks Healthcare, where he was to receive treatment for frostbite but walked out before treatment was rendered,” authorities said.
Howell County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Torey Thompson “noted in a document submitted to prosecutors that Partee seemed to be taking refuge in the hot tub in order to keep warm in the extreme cold weather, and his actions seemed to be caused by drug use, mental health issues, or both,” according to the Quill.
At 4:47 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, officers were called to an attempted theft of a 2021 car hauler from South 63 Motors in West Plains; the hauler was found discarded at Broadway and Lincoln Avenue. An hour later, officers there responded to a theft of a car hauler trailer from Hirsch Feed, the Quill reported.
Later that morning, Partee reportedly drove a stolen truck and trailer into the East Wind Community off County Road 547 and got the vehicle stuck attempting to cross Lick Creek.
After wading through the creek in single digit temperatures, Partee was spotted by Ozark County Deputy Justin Brown on a county road; a short foot pursuit began, but Brown soon lost the suspect in the woods.
A short time later, Partee showed up at a nearby residence, bleeding and injured, and asked for help getting to his house, which he said falsely was nearby. The resident, Tecumseh resident Brian Corbin, agreed to help, and the two men got into Corbin’s car together. But when Corbin returned to his house to get a blanket for Partee, the suspect slid into the driver’s seat and allegedly stole the vehicle and then fled into Baxter County, Arkansas.
Officers spotted Partee in the stolen vehicle in Mountain Home, Arkansas, the next afternoon. After a high-speed chase, Partee crashed the vehicle and fled into a motel, where he unsuccessfully attempted to hide in a room and was arrested.
Partee is charged with theft by receiving, fleeing, reckless driving, no liability insurance, driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and failing to obey traffic control signs or devices.
In Ozark County, Partee faces felony charges of tampering with a motor vehicle, stealing $750 or more and stealing a motor vehicle.
In Howell County, Partee faces three counts of stealing $750 or more and two counts of stealing a motor vehicle.
He is currently being held in the Baxter County Detention Center, but warrants have also been issued for his arrest in Ozark and Howell counties.