SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– According to Sheriff Jim Arnott, a Saturday-night crash at Glenstone and Kearney that resulted in the deaths of three people was not the fault of a pursuit by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a severe, intoxicated, drugged driver,” Arnott told reporters.
“For 29 minutes, prior to law enforcement contact, he almost hit a pedestrian at a walkway, he had lost two vehicles off of a trailer, was traveling in the wrong lane… by our standards, this is a driver we need to get off the road.
We weren’t able to pursue long enough to… obviously, his actions weren’t based on the chase. His actions showed for 29 minutes that he was a drugged and impaired driver and he did not have any regard for anyone’s life.”
At a news conference Monday, Arnott laid out a timeline of events leading up to the crash and provided a look at dashcam captured by deputies.
The following is a timeline of events leading up the crash as delivered by Sheriff Arnott:
6:57 p.m.- Arnott says GCSO deputies and the Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter team responded to multiple calls about a truck speeding through the area, crashing through a fence, and dumping a trailer.
7:05 p.m.- Missouri State Highway Patrol’s helicopter locates the suspected truck heading south on highways H and AA, Arnott says the helicopter reported the truck was “driving erratically”.
7:05 p.m.- A roadside deputy, parked at Farm Road 94 and Highway H, “observes a speeding southbound truck. He pulls out behind the truck, activates his emergency equipment and attempts to catch up,” Arnott says.
Arnott says the deputy’s car is a “Starchase equipped” vehicle, meaning it’s capable of firing a GPS tracker onto the back of a suspect’s vehicle. It’s a relatively new technology for GCSO, one Arnott says is designed to prevent pursuits.
7:06 p.m.- A deputy on Highway H is able to spike the driver-side tires of the truck.
“We believe the driver of the truck should’ve known that law enforcement were attempting to stop him at this time,” Arnott says.
7:08 p.m.- “Within 60 seconds at I-44 and Glenstone,” Arnott says, “The deputy confirms that the Highway Patrol helicopter has the vehicle and is tracking it, terminates the pursuit, and shuts off all of his emergency equipment, and stops traffic.”
7:08 p.m.- “After the pursuit termination the truck collides with multiple vehicles at Glenstone and Kearney,” Arnott concludes.
After laying out this timeline, Arnott showed the following dashcam footage. The video was captured by a pursuing deputy moments before the collision.
During a Q&A following the news conference, Arnott said the crash is being investigated by the GCSO professional standards division.
When asked if that department’s involvement raises any question on the professional behavior of the deputies involved, Arnott said he believed everyone acted “appropriately”.
He added Highway Patrol helicopter footage will also be handy in illustrating the appropriate conduct of the Sheriff’s Office.