An area man faces felony charges in Washington County after reportedly leading police on a pursuit and allegedly shooting at one of the pursuing officers.
James Dean McConnell Jr., 39, of Potosi, has been charged with second-degree assault – special victim, armed criminal action, resisting arrest/detention/stop by fleeing and failing to register a motor vehicle, as well as other traffic violations.
According to a probable cause statement from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, on Feb. 14, an officer attempted to stop a vehicle driven by McConnell, but the man failed to pull over.
The report states the man led police on a pursuit, violated multiple traffic laws and discharged a firearm toward officers, which caused visible damage to a county patrol vehicle.
Authorities allege McConnell tried to cause serious bodily harm to the law enforcement officer and endangered the well-being of other motorists by failing to signal multiple turns, disregarding stop signs, speeding, and weaving in and out of traffic lanes.
During the chase, while heading north on South State Highway 21 in the area of Nestor Road, one officer reported hearing a loud pop and said something impacted the driver’s side of the windshield of his patrol vehicle.
The report states that once McConnell brought the vehicle to a stop on Younker Road, he got out and ran through a thickly-wooded area.
Upon further investigation, officers found McConnell had been displaying Missouri license plates belonging to another vehicle, failed to register the motor vehicle, failed to maintain financial responsibility, and failed to provide proof of inspection, according to the report.
Before the car was towed from the scene, police took an inventory of the vehicle and reportedly found a small caliber firearm in the rear driver-side floorboard.
The report states officers also discovered ammunition in the center console and passenger floorboard, and a large bladed weapon concealed in the front driver-side door. Examining the patrol vehicle’s windshield, police noted damage believed to have been caused by a round fired from the small caliber handgun.
Authorities later located McConnell and reportedly took the man into custody. According to court filings, investigators performed a gunshot residue test on the man’s hands, the test results were positive, indicating a gun had been fired in close proximity to McConnell.
The report states police ran a standard records check and learned McConnell had a suspended driver’s status at the time of the pursuit. Officials learned the man is on probation in a case with a suspended imposition of sentence, making it unlawful for him to possess the firearm and bladed weapon reportedly found in his vehicle.
McConnell was booked at the Washington County Jail, and a $100,000 bond has been set in the case. The man pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment on Feb. 15 and is due in court again for a preliminary hearing on April 18.
Court records indicated McConnell has faced similar charges in the past. A criminal history check by officials showed the man has previously been convicted of shooting a firearm at a motor vehicle or a person/unlawful use of a firearm.
According to records, McConnell has been convicted of other offenses, including operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner involving an accident, operating a motor vehicle while suspended, and driving a vehicle without a valid license.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com