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An area man is being charged with several felonies after he reportedly fled from police, attempted to run officers off the road and damaged a patrol car.

Gregory Whaley, 49, of Park Hills, is charged in St. Francois County with a class A felony of assault in the first degree, a class E felony of resisting arrest, a class E felony of property damage in the first degree, careless and imprudent driving, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, failure to register a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident.

According to a probable cause statement obtained from the St. Francois County Prosecutor’s Office, on March 31 at 12:30 p.m. a Bonne Terre police officer saw a gray Ford F-150 parked in the Bonneville Plaza, on the southside of an old bar.

The officer saw a man lying back with the driver seat reclined and he was unsure if the driver, later identified as Whaley, was passed out or just sleeping. The officer had Central Dispatch run the license plate and there was record of the plate.

The officer approached the driver’s door to make contact with Whaley and when he knocked on the window Whaley jumped up and started reaching in between the seats and then the pocket of the door. The officer asked if he was OK and told him to roll down the window to speak with him.

Whaley rolled the window down about an inch and said he was OK and was leaving. The officer asked Whaley again to roll down the window and he would not comply. The officer told him he was loitering and asked for his identification.

Whaley refused to identify himself and said that he would just leave. Whaley then yelled obscenities, shifted the truck into drive and accelerated quickly causing the truck to fishtail onto Pointview Drive going north toward Route K at a high rate of speed.

The officer turned on his emergency lights and told Central Dispatch that the vehicle fled. Another Bonne Terre officer was on his way to the first officer’s location when he saw the truck fail to stop at the stop sign on Pointview at Route K.

The other officer also turned on his emergency lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle. Whaley refused to stop and continued west on Route K toward U.S. 67. 

Whaley turned onto northbound U.S. 67 at a high rate of speed fishtailing again and continued on U.S. 67 reaching speeds of 120-plus mph. The officer reported that Whaley slammed on his brakes multiple times as if he was trying to get the officer to slam into the back of him, but the officer maintained a safe distance.

The second officer was able to remain parallel to Whaley as they drove up the highway and Whaley began swerving toward the officer in an attempt to run the officer into the median. The initial officer saw Whaley throwing his hands out of the window motioning the officer to "come on.”

As they approached Cash Lane, Whaley slowed and quickly turned left from the right lane of U.S. 67 and collided with the front right corner of the second officer’s patrol car forcing him into the crossover at Cash Lane.

Whaley went through the crossover and into the southbound lanes of U.S. 67, traveling northbound in the southbound lanes. The officer reported that there was no traffic so they continued parallel to the truck.

Whaley then began to drive toward oncoming traffic near St. Francois State Park and locked up his brakes and spun the truck around before accelerating and traveling southbound back toward Bonne Terre again in excess of 120 mph.

The second officer was able to keep control of his patrol car and the damage was only cosmetic. The initial officer was able to turn around at the crossover to St. Francois State Park and catch up to Whaley just north of Bonne Terre.

Whaley exited at the Old Orchard Road exit and then began driving on the wrong side of the road traveling through the roundabout near the Family Fun Center. Whaley was driving too fast and lost control of his truck striking the curb with his left front tire before going over the curb and running over a reflector pole.

Whaley then regained control and drove back onto the right lane on Old Orchard Road toward M.C. Black Road. The officer advised Central Dispatch that the left front tire of the truck was going down and the officer saw chunks of rubber flying from the tire and bouncing off the hood of his patrol car.

Whaley then slowed down before driving off the right side of the road and into the grass and mud. That was when the truck came to a stop off M.C. Black Road and the officer was able to position his patrol car’s push bumper right up next to the front bumper of the truck in an attempt to keep Whaley from fleeing.

The second officer approached the driver’s side door of the truck and ordered Whaley out of his vehicle several times at gunpoint. Whaley refused to comply and the officer struck the passenger side window with his baton and the window shattered so he could gain access to the lock.

Whaley then complied and the second officer was able to gain control of Whaley and take him to the ground. The initial officer then went to the driver’s side to assist the officer with placing Whaley in handcuffs.

After Whaley was patted down and secured in a patrol car, the officer noticed two different license plate stickers and Whaley said he had no clue where they came from.

The officer also reported that Whaley said he was sorry for running and that he had a warrant. The officer told Whaley that he was going to be charged with assault in the first degree against a law enforcement officer.

Whaley also said, “I’m sorry that I hit that officer. It was a stupid thing to do and I just lost my mind.”

Whaley's bond was set at $65,000 bond.

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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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