RALEIGH — Derrick Donta Bell had only been out of prison a little more than three months when police arrested him Tuesday on several charges, including running into a crowded theater on the opening night of “Twilight” two weeks ago and ordering patrons to evacuate.
Witnesses told police that Bell, 29, ran into the Mission Valley Cinemas on Avent Ferry Road on Nov. 15 and caused a general panic by yelling profane commands for the audience to leave.
Bell had come to the movie premiere with some other people, but left for a short while before returning and creating the disturbance in the rear of the theater, said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue.
Some patrons heeded Bell’s orders and left the cineplex.
“Some of the people returned after the disturbance ended,” Sughrue said. “Some of them did not.”
The disturbance “was relatively short-lived,” Sughrue added.
Bell lives at 912 Weston St. in Raleigh. Police say when he left his friends in the theater, he used his Dodge minivan to ram a couple of parked cars, then crashed into a tree across the parking lot from the theater. Police charged him with leaving the scene of an accident, careless and reckless driving and injury to personal property, as well as disorderly conduct in connection with the disturbance during the movie.
Bell was convicted in Wake County last year of felony speeding to elude arrest and assault on a government official. He was sentenced to one year in prison and released on Aug. 16, according to state records.
In 2003, Bell was convicted of a spree of traffic offenses and assaults that began in May of that year and ended in November, according to state records. He was convicted of one count each of felony hit and run, felony speeding to elude arrest and felony assault with a deadly weapon against a government employee, among other charges. Bell was sentenced to nearly two years in prison, state records show.
In 2000, Bell was convicted of using a vehicle to run away from police to avoid arrest. The series of traffic violations included failure to stop for an accident, obstructing justice, failure to heed lights/siren, speeding to elude arrest and reckless driving.
On Tuesday, police took Bell to the Wake County jail, where he was being held under $2,000 bail, court records show.
News researcher Peggy Neal contributed to this report.