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Man charged after allegedly wrestling with police under Big River bridge
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Man charged after allegedly wrestling with police under Big River bridge

Man charged after allegedly wrestling with police under the Big River bridge


A man faces charges this week after an alleged altercation with police under the Big River bridge just outside Desloge.

John P. Womble, 38, whose last known address is Park Hills, was charged in St. Francois County Monday with fourth-degree assault, resisting arrest and first-degree trespassing.

According to a probable-cause statement from St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department, a deputy was dispatched on Sept. 21 to St. Francois Memorial Park located at 6776 Vo-Tech Rd. for a report of trespassing in progress.

The deputy met with a woman at the cemetery who said that Womble was arrested for trespassing on Sept. 9, and reported that the man was back on the property.

The report states the deputy then walked to the area of Vo-Tech Road by the Big River bridge, between Desloge and Bonne Terre. He made contact with Womble who was in a tent under the bridge.

Womble reportedly told the deputy that he had been run off from the cemetery and he was just sleeping in the tent. The deputy then asked Womble about the phones that were left at the cemetery and the man reportedly said they were his phones and he wanted them back.

The deputy asked Womble about being arrested for trespassing on Sept. 9 and asked why Womble returned to the property. Womble reportedly answered that he needed to charge his phones.

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The deputy told Womble he was being arrested again for trespassing on the cemetery grounds.

After placing a handcuff on Womble's left wrist, the report states Womble pulled away and began wrestling with the deputy for control of his arm.

Attempting to gain control, the deputy swept his right leg causing both of the men to fall to the ground. They continued to wrestle for control of the cuffed left wrist, according to the statement.

The report states the deputy disengaged and stood up. Womble then reportedly stood up and dropped his head to charge toward the deputy’s torso with his right shoulder.

The deputy reports placing his arms around Womble’s waist as Womble began attempts to lift the deputy's legs.

The report says the deputy pushed away and stepped back long enough to draw his taser. He ordered Womble to stop and the man dropped to a kneeling position, complying with the deputy’s orders.

The deputy reported his knuckles were bleeding after the altercation.

Womble was taken to the St. Francois County Jail and released pending the filing of formal charges.

The formal charges were filed on Monday, and Womble was issued a summons to appear in St. Francois County Court for an initial court appearance, scheduled for Nov. 5.

Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at


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