SALEM, Mo.– What began as a car crash at a high school turned into car theft and a police chase, brought to an end by the same victim whose car was stolen aiding the police in apprehending the suspect.
Salem Police Department said officers were dispatched to a crash at Salem High School on July 7 at about 5:17 p.m. While responding to the crash, officers received another call saying the vehicle that was wrecked was also previously stolen.
On the scene, officers were told the suspect, 24-year-old Sara Cunningham, who had been driving the crashed vehicle fled up a hill and stole a truck that was seen traveling towards Highway 72, and the owner of the truck had jumped into the back of the truck as it was being stolen.
After locating the truck and attempting to stop the vehicle, authorities said it began to accelerate and drive erratically with the victim still in the back of the vehicle. Cunningham continued into Rolla, off of the highway and onto several streets before reaching Highway BB towards St. James.
Once on Highway BB, police said the victim who had been in the back of the truck managed to crawl into the vehicle through an open window. Shortly after, the truck went off of the highway crashing into a fence and colliding with a tree.
Police said the owner of the vehicle pulled Cunningham out and aided in apprehending her before officers had arrived to the scene of the crash. The truck owner suffered minor injuries and no injuries were reported or apparent by the suspect, according to police.
Cunningham is being charged with two counts of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree property damage, leaving the scene of an accident, resisting arrest and creating a substantial risk of injury or death and with a misdemeanor DWI. She is being held on a $500,000 cash or surety bond.