Tuesday, 16 August 2011

high-speed chase involving many motorcyclists following a Saturday shooting near the Highway 7 overpass on Interstate 44 at mile marker 150.

More information came out Monday regarding a high-speed chase involving many motorcyclists following a Saturday shooting near the Highway 7 overpass on Interstate 44 at mile marker 150.

While many details are unclear, the incident and another situation in Laclede County appear to be gang-related.

“The various motorcycle drivers stopped in Pulaski County were members of or affiliated with a number of well-known national motorcycle gangs,” said Pulaski County J.B. King in a prepared statement.

King reported that the Pulaski County 911 Center received about 20 calls, beginning at 8:16 p.m. Saturday; some of the calls described the incident as a motorcycle crash “since many of the bikes were on the ground” but “many other callers reported that approximately 20 men were fighting” and that shots had been fired; traffic on Interstate 44 was reported to be stopped by the incident.

State troopers requested backup and deputies from the sheriff’s office responded, along with police from both Waynesville and Saint Robert, but the first officers to arrive at mile marker 150 reported that the scene was clear, but that a number of motorcycles were headed east on Interstate 44.

A gunshot victim arrived at the Oasis Truck Port with a bullet wound to her leg but was stable and walking around the gas pumps; it’s not clear whether that victim, a woman who refused medical treatment and did not want to press criminal charges, had anything to do with a second gunshot victim who arrived at a Lebanon hospital; officers in Laclede County also stopped a number of motorcycle drivers.

The sheriff’s log indicates that Waynesville police set out in pursuit of seven to eight motorcyclists who refused to yield; police stopped two of the bikers at 8:27 p.m. at mile marker 153, deputies and police stopped four of the at mile marker 152.4. Two more were stopped by Waynesville police at mile marker 155.6 and officers believed at that time they had all the bikers, but 8:56 p.m. police received a report of two more bikers hiding behind the Witmor Farms building at Exit 153, then at 9 p.m. reported they were headed toward Waynesville on Highway 17. One biker was stopped by deputies at 9:01 p.m. but the other continued and was stopped seven minutes later by a different deputy.

St. Robert dispatchers monitored the incident, and while they weren’t initially asked to respond they set up a blocking location at Exit 161 at 8:28 p.m. About a minute later, St. Robert officers were asked for help and responded with three officers, with all officers returning to the limits by 10:29 p.m. St. Robert police logs include the notation that “there is a biker gathering at OB’s,” which is inside the St. Robert city limits.

Two deputies parked at the Roadhouse restaurant at 9:48 p.m. “watching for vehicles,” according to sheriff’s logs, but the logs do not indicate that those two deputies made contact with more motorcyclists.

Waynesville police recovered numerous guns during the incident. Not all of those stopped were connected to the altercation at Exit 150; at 10:08 p.m., Waynesville police stopped one motorcyclist who “was originally seen on Highway 17 South and looked suspicious due to circumstances,” but eventually determined he was a soldier from Fort Leonard Wood and took no further action.

Speeds during the motorcycle pursuit reached 80 to 90 mph but once the bikers stopped they did not put up additional resistance, police said. Some arrests were made by deputies or by city police and numerous weapons were found with some of the drivers having their licenses revoked, but state troopers eventually told local authorities to release most of those who had been arrested.

An additional incident began at 9:24 p.m. when a local towing company arrived to take possession of some of the motorcycles. At 9:41 p.m., the tow company took possession of the vehicle, but at 9:49 p.m. the tow driver reported that the tow truck “was being followed by several subjects.” Rather than driving to the tow company lot, the tow driver brought the vehicle to the sheriff’s department; deputies stored the motorcycle in the sheriff’s department with directions that it “is to be released only to a valid driver with a valid motorcycle endorsement.” The tow company informed the sheriff’s department that “they do not want a bill nor do they want any part of this motorcycle.”


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