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Suspect arrested after manhunt

The suspect involved in a police pursuit Thursday afternoon was taken into custody after several agencies assisted in locating him. His capture came as result of law enforcement “pinging.” or tracking, his mobile phone.

Desloge Police Chief James Bullock said they kept pinging the cellphone of Brandon Molina, 27, of St. Louis until they were able to get a good location on him.

Molina is facing charges of felony assault in the second degree against a police officer, assault against a police animal, felony property damage in the first degree, felony resisting arrest by fleeing and numerous traffic violations. Both women are facing felony charges of hindering prosecution and harboring a fugitive.

“They wound up catching him around 10 p.m. at a residence in Farmington,” Bullock said. “I’m not sure all who was there besides us and Farmington. I do know the sheriff’s department was working on it throughout the afternoon after the pursuit had ended, but I don’t know who was actually there when they took him into custody.”

Bullock said Central Dispatch was pinging the phone the entire afternoon trying to get a location.

Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said all afternoon there were several law enforcement agencies looking for him and about 10 p.m. they honed in on an residence on Kenwood Drive.

“I received a call from my on-shift corporal and he said they went to the house,” Baker said. “He also said when they approached the house he evidently came out and they arrested him without incident. The female who was with him (during the earlier chase) was there, too.”

Bullock said they arrested the woman who was with Molina during the pursuit and a woman who was harboring them.

After Desloge Police K9 Handler Brad Judge attempted to pull over Molina earlier in the day a pursuit ensued, and Judge’s patrol vehicle was hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Chestnut and South Grant Streets. A secondary Desloge officer continued with the pursuit which eventually led onto U.S. 67, where Molina crossed the median near Rosener Road and police lost sight of the van he was driving.

Judge was taken to Parkland Health Center Farmington with minor injuries and was eventually released.

St. Francois County Deputy Joshua Rennie was driving south on U.S. responding to the pursuit when he thought he spotted the suspect vehicle. While attempting to turn his patrol car around he went off the highway, up an embankment and struck a metal pole. He was transported to Mercy Hospital Jefferson with moderate injuries.

A short time later the silver minivan Molina had been driving was located off Pratte Road. A nearby neighbor called it in and reported seeing two individuals, Molina and a woman, walking up the road away from where the van was located.

St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock said Rennie was released from the hospital, but reportedly suffered a fractured vertebra and a broken hand.

“We don’t know exactly what is going on yet,” Dan said. “They have done some scans and run some tests. They have to talk to the doctor. We don’t know if he will have to have surgery or therapy.”

“He probably got hurt when he landed on the parking lot, but I don’t know for sure,” Bullock said. “The pole slowed him down and the car went over the top of it. There was damage done underneath the car, it wasn’t like the pole stopped the car.”

Dan said he wasn’t sure if the vehicle was totaled, but it is in bad shape. He said they will need to have the insurance company look at it.

James said as far as Judge’s patrol car, the street supervisor told him they were able to get it to where it was able to be driven but it definitely needs additional work.

Brandon Molina

Brandon Molina

St. Francois County Deputy Joshua Rennie is loaded into an ambulance to be taken to the hospital after wrecking his patrol car off U.S. 67 at Shannon Road.

St. Francois County Deputy Joshua Rennie is loaded into an ambulance to be taken to the hospital after wrecking his patrol car off U.S. 67 at Shannon Road.

Desloge Officer Brad Judge initiated a pursuit and moments later was struck in an intersection in Desloge.

Desloge Officer Brad Judge initiated a pursuit and moments later was struck in an intersection in Desloge.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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