PINE BLUFF — Arkansas State Police acknowledge that film director Ron Howard was mistakenly arrested earlier this week after witnesses mistakenly identified him as escaped convict Timothy Buffington.
Howard says he was in Fort Smith for the week scouting for a new film project. He took a trip to Booneville looking for additional locations when he was apprehended in a road block on Highway 10.
“We were just driving down the road when we came up to the road block,” Howard says. “They ordered me to get out of the car and I offered several times to identify myself. Each time the police officers just told me that they know who I am. They refused to let me know why I was being arrested.”
According to sources Howard repeatedly pled his innocence through mistaken identity. Howard was eventually transferred to Pine Bluff correctional facility to be readmitted into the prison when his identity was finally acknowledged.
“I told them several times I was Ron Howard. They ignored me. I kept naming off films I directed like Apollo 13, DaVinci Code, A Beautiful Mind and others,” Howard says. “They claimed to never have seen any of them. Finally I had an idea and asked if they have ever seen the Andy Griffith Show. ‘I am Opie’ I told them. They released me within the hour.”
Police say that the Photoshop images of Buffington following his escaped aided greatly in the capture of Howard. Though they admit that police are still unsure what the real Buffington may look like today.
Howard says he still plans to direct and produce a movie in Arkansas and has a lot of great new ideas based on his recent experience for the movie.