Stolen vehicle pursuit by LPD

Chief Patrick Burton/
Cpl. Brian Allgire

On December 23, Licking police officers received information from Salem Police Department of a stolen, 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt, maroon in color. Salem P.D. advised the vehicle was last seen traveling westbound towards the city of Licking on the night of December 22, 2019.
While on routine patrol at approximately 2:05 p.m., officers observed the vehicle in question traveling westbound on MO-32 in the city limits of Licking. Officers confirmed the vehicle was reported stolen and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The vehicle then accelerated, failing to yield to the patrol vehicle’s activated emergency lights and siren. A pursuit was initiated as the vehicle turned northbound on U.S. Highway 63 from MO-32. The driver of the vehicle continued to fail to yield to the Licking officers while heading northbound at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Approximately 7.5 miles south of the city limits of Rolla, vehicle traffic increased and the risk of injury exceeded the immediate need for apprehension. The officers terminated the pursuit.
As the Licking police officers were returning to the city of Licking, they were advised the vehicle in question had driven into the city of Rolla and collided with another vehicle.
The suspect was identified as 43-year-old Leah B. Happel of Salem, Mo. Happel sustained serious injuries during the collision. She was transported to an area hospital and later airlifted to a nearby trauma center to seek medical treatment.
A probable cause statement will be sent to the Texas County Prosecutor’s Office seeking formal charges for the following charges: tampering first degree, felony resisting arrest by fleeing, exceeding the posted speed limit, careless and imprudent driving, failure to drive on right half of roadway, driving while suspended second offense and failure to wear a seatbelt.
The above information is just mere accusations and is not evidence of guilt. Evidence in support of any charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.



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