A dump truck that was stolen from the Washington County Road and Bridge Department early Wednesday morning was located in Jefferson County and the driver led police in a multi-state pursuit.
Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said his department received a call from their District 2 Road and Bridge superintendent at 5:30 a.m. after he showed up to work at their secured lot and it looked like something had driven through the gate.
“It appeared it had been torn down by a vehicle, which is not unheard of because of its location and it has been hit in the past,” Jacobsen said. “Once he entered the premises he determined a dump truck and a trailer that had a mini-excavator on it were missing, along with several hand tools.”
Jacobsen said the supervisor called the dispatch center and deputies and detectives went out to investigate. Through the investigation they determined there was GPS installed on the dump truck. Through the GPS they found the truck’s location.
“Deputies drove Jefferson County where it was located and they had also notified Jefferson County (authorities) that the vehicle was there,” said Jacobsen. “Immediately after notifying them the vehicle went on the move, so we updated Jefferson County with the information and the Missouri State Highway Patrol became involved.”
Jacobsen said from what he understands, the patrol was able to get a trooper behind the stolen truck off Telegraph Road. The trooper initiated a traffic stop which led to a pursuit.
“He led them into the state of Illinois, at which point our troopers terminated the pursuit and Illinois State Police picked it up,” Jacobsen said. “They pursued it through and around Illinois and then back into St. Louis city, where St. Louis City (Police Department) picked up the pursuit.”
The dump truck was then abandoned in an ally in St. Louis and the driver fled on foot. The suspect was later taken into custody in the Soulard area.
“So we recovered the dump truck. We recovered the trailer, but as of this point we have not located the excavator or the chainsaw and hand tools that were stolen with it,” Jacobsen said. “The trailer and the excavator were not on the truck while they were being pursued. It was detached at some point.”
The sheriff said as of late Wednesday morning that he was unsure if other suspects may have been involved.
“At this point we are just as in the dark as most people until we get updated by St. Louis City and the highway patrol,” Jacobsen said. “This truck and that equipment were on loan to the county as part of the FEMA program and there was a FEMA crew operating them.”
He added none of the stolen equipment belonged to the county with exception of the hand tools. The vehicle, trailer and excavator had been rented for a FEMA crew. The truck was a 2012 Ford F750, the excavator was a 2016 model and the trailer was a 2017 Doolittle.
“I was told the truck had collided with a couple of people during the pursuit at some point, but I have no idea if there were injuries reported with that or what the status is right now,” Jacobsen said.
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org