A “very minor traffic violation” led to the arrest of a 19-year-old man and his mother, neither of whom were the vehicle’s driver, front seat passenger, nor the cause of the initial traffic stop.
Caseyville Police Chief Tom Coppotelli said the situation quickly escalated into a dangerous one, resulting in the arrests and multiple charges against the mother and son, including resisting a police officer and aggravated battery. Neither the driver nor the front seat passenger was charged.
Ryan Buxton, 19, and his mother, April Strother, 40, both of Caseyville, are both charged with resisting a police officer and were in custody at the St. Clair County Jail on Tuesday morning. Strother is also charged with aggravated battery. Buxton is also charged with possession of a controlled substance and threatening a public official.
Coppotelli said an officer pulled over a vehicle on Lucinda Drive, in front of the home where Buxton resides with his mother.
Coppotelli said Buxton “immediately started yelling and cursing at the police.”
Police received the driver’s consent to search the car, and found a small amount of marijuana and pills under the back seat, where Buxton had been sitting, according to Coppotelli.
“Officers attempted to take him into custody, and he didn’t want to be in custody,” Coppotelli said.
Officers called for backup when Buxton began resisting arrest, Coppotelli said, referring to the man as “a big boy,” at about 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds.
“They were trying to get him handcuffed when mom comes out of the house,” Coppotelli said.
“She kicked one of our officers, and smacked him in the face,” Coppotelli said.
Once in custody and at the Caseyville Police Department, Buxton began threatening police by saying he would get a gun and bullets and kill officers, according to Coppotelli.
“In light of everything going on in the world today, we take those threats very serious. Someone says they’re going to get a gun and kill us, there’s no taking it out of context,” Coppotelli said.
The police chief said that arrests at a person’s home often end up involving other family members, with mothers often yelling at police.
“But to actually put hands on a policeman is totally unacceptable,” he said.
Coppotelli said the traffic stop didn’t need to escalate.
“If he would have cooperated, he would have (likely) been charged with possession of a controlled substance, and that would have probably been it. Which is a felony, but it ... ended up being a lot of felonies.”