UPDATE (3:58 p.m.). The Sullivan Journal has learned that the suspect is Tyson Williams, 36, of Sullivan. Williams has an extensive record, including serious driving offenses that include a 30-day sentence for careless driving/resisting and/or interfering with a stop out of Rosebud, Mo. That was in 2007. Williams also served 340 days for a 2000 felony conviction on resisting/interfering with an arrest in Franklin County.
SULLIVAN - A wild chase that drew dozens of spectators to Highway 185/Springfield Road area finally ended in handcuffs behind a house one-half mile east of Lowe's. It was a crazy scene that pitted a suspect on a four-wheeler against three police agencies and a helicopter. The suspect's name has not been released. (Sheriff's news release below)
One police officer at the scene said the ordeal began with an assault call in the area near the K of C Hall off Highway 185 South near the railroad tracks. What occurred after that isn't yet clear, but the suspect (at some point) took off on a four-wheeler after police discovered what may be a meth lab.
At about 11:30 a.m., the chase began. For the next two hours, the suspect - driving a Kawasaki four-wheeler - led police on a chase on both sides of Interstate 44. Police called in Franklin County Reserve Deputy Tom Cline and his helicopter, along with additional officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Sullivan Police Departments.
The suspect ended up near the point of origin - Oak Grove/Hwy. 185 South area - eluding and leading police through fields, yards, railroad tracks and the wooded area near the cell phone tower near MFA Propane. As quick as he would appear, he would disappear, sometimes emerging on busy stretches of Hwy. 185 South and Springfield Road near Lowe's.
As a dozen or more law enforcement vehicles gave chase one direction - and then another - motorists and shoppers at nearby stores began watching the action. As Cline's helicopter buzzed overhead, people were taking photos and cheering on the action. The suspect's four-wheeler could be heard fading in and out of the area. Several times the suspect drove past people and police, refusing to stop. Attempts to spike-strip the suspect failed, mainly because he didn't stay on pavement for more than brief periods before entering the woods or fields.
Finally, at about 1:30, the suspect's ride came to an end behind a house located off the South Outer Road/Springfield Road one-half mile east of Lowe's. With the helicopter buzzing overhead and a small army of state, county, and local police on the scene - it was over.
"We don't know his name yet," said Sgt. J. Hartwig of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. "We're still gathering evidence and information from what happened earlier." Law enforcement remained in the Hwy. 185 area, allegedly looking for meth-lab components and evidence.
The suspect was decontaminated for possible meth-cooking chemicals and transported to the Franklin County Jail.
From Franklin County Sheriff's Office:
During the evening of January 11, deputies were investigating an assault in the 200 block of Hwy 185 outside Sullivan. A male subject was accused of assaulting a female girlfriend and fled in to the woods. The female was taken to the hospital for her injuries. At approximately 10:51 AM, on this date, the subject returned to the residence and became involved in another assault.
When deputies responded the subject fled on foot again. Deputies, Sullivan Police, and the Highway Patrol began searching the area. There were several reports from neighbors in the area reporting sightings of the subject. A deputy observed the subject near the Conservation Building on Hwy 185. The deputy chased the subject on foot to the Good Year Tire Building where the deputy and other law enforcement took the subject in to custody for investigation of assault. He is a white male, age 30 with addresses in St. Louis and Sullivan.
The Sheriff’s Office air unit was assisting on the search. While the assault subject was being arrested, the pilot observed an ATV in the area. There were two subjects with the ATV. When they saw law enforcement one fled on foot, the other on the ATV. The air unit followed the ATV until the subject was eventually taken in to custody. Law enforcement responded to the area where they first saw the ATV and located an active meth lab. Deputies are still searching for the subject who fled on foot. The subject taken in to custody on the ATV is a 36- year old white male from Sullivan. He was arrested for investigation of narcotics violations.