Several law enforcement agencies were out in full force looking for a man who led them on a vehicle pursuit and then a foot chase after he wrecked his vehicle Tuesday night.
Desloge Police Chief James Bullock said officers were called to a disturbance in the 100 block of Locust St. at approximately 7 p.m. and when officers arrived a man, later identified as James Bland Cooper, 40, of the Poplar Bluff/Wappapello area, immediately fled in a pickup truck.
“Officers were told he was involved in a disturbance so they gave pursuit,” Bullock said. “He went south on School Street, then headed east on Elm Street towards the intermediate school. In that area somewhere he went into a wooded and field area behind Soaring Eagle Distributors.”
According to police radio traffic, while headed east on Elm Street he reached speeds of 60 mph and past North Harry Jr. toward School Street and made his way to Lincoln Street with officers in pursuit.
“At some point he made his way back up onto Desloge Drive in the area of State Street,” said Bullock. “He then made a right onto Birch and wrecked his truck behind a daycare and fled on foot.”
Bullock added somewhere near Desloge Drive and Lincoln Street he went under a porch or deck that had lattice work underneath it.
“He kicked it in and hid down inside there,” Bullock said. “The resident came out. I don’t know if it was from all the noise or not, but when they came out, he kicked the lattice work out on the other end of the porch and ran. Officers were seeing him intermittently while he was running.”
Cooper ran down behind Jiffy Lube and across the railroad tracks. Bullock said back in that area was last visual they had on him. Scuby was deployed at that point, but he was never able to pick up Cooper's scent.
“Scuby just couldn’t come up with a good track because of the frozen ground,” said Bullock. “The cooler temperature like that makes it harder for a dog to track.”
There is a wooded area behind Ravencrest apartments or he could have gone through backyards to come out near Parkside School. Cooper is known to be armed, but Bullock didn’t know if he was at the time. He asked the public to stay in their homes in that area for their safety Tuesday evening.
Bullock said officers figured out the truck Cooper was driving was stolen out of Poplar Bluff and they also found out he was in Desloge because of an earlier incident of arguing between him and two others.
“That other person had come up here and he apparently had followed them,” said Bullock. “So that is how he ended up in Desloge. He has been from around here at one time because one of my officers has arrested him before.”
Cooper has a lengthy criminal history and has several warrants out for his arrest, including a probation and parole violation warrant. He is described as wearing blue jeans and dark heavy blue coat.
Bullock added his department will be applying for charges such as numerous traffic violations and property damage.
As of press time, Cooper had not been located and the police department was still out searching for him. Bullock said Cooper has no phone, he wrecked his stolen truck and really doesn’t have anyone to help him so Cooper will be looking for a warm place.
Anyone with any information on Cooper’s whereabouts is asked to call their local police department or Central Dispatch at 573-431-3131.