Speeds reached 108 mph.
Friday afternoon Livingston County Sheriff’s Office Deputy John S. Stafford was on U.S. Highway 36 east of Chillicothe responding to a non-urgent call for service west of Wheeling, when he was nearly struck head-on by a fast-moving vehicle traveling west in the westbound lanes of U.S. Highway 36 that jumped the median into the eastbound lanes of 36 west of Wheeling.
“Deputy Stafford took evasive action and got into the westbound lanes with emergency equipment activated and notified dispatch of the dangerous action. The suspect vehicle continued west in the eastbound lanes of Highway 36 at a very high rate of speed,” Sheriff Steve Cox said. “Numerous vehicles, fortunately, avoided head-on traffic collision with the suspect driver.”
Deputy Stafford was attempting to give warning to eastbound traffic while he was driving west in the westbound lanes of 36, while additional officers were attempting to get into position to assist. The suspect continued at a high rate of speed in the wrong lane until west of U.S. Highway 65 and Chillicothe where he jumped the median and continued on at a very high rate of speed well over 100 miles per hour but now in the westbound lanes of the highway.
“Dispatch notified the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and Caldwell County Sheriff. Deputy Stafford ended the chase west of Utica as the vehicle continued at a very high rate of speed and was distancing himself from our deputy and getting out of direct sight,” Cox said. “A short while later we learned the MSHP checked a vehicle of similar description on U.S. Highway 36 at 108 miles per hour somewhere east of Hamilton. An unknown officer used spike strips to stop the vehicle. Last we heard there allegedly may be controlled substance(s) involved and/or in the vehicle. An ambulance was summoned to check the suspect driver.”
Deputies are still investigating and plans are to seek charges, Cox noted, adding that other agencies are looking into charges in Dekalb County and near Cameron.
At the time of this press release, LCSO cannot release the suspect’s names, as there has not been a custodial arrest. Cox distributed the press release just after 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6.