Crime

Fairview Heights police chase ends with head-on crash in East St. Louis

Three people were taken to the hospital when a car that was being chased by police crashed head-on with another vehicle at 30th and State streets in East St. Louis on Thursday.

Fairview Heights police began pursuing a red Nissan Murano. The chase went into East St. Louis, where the Murano crashed into a gray sedan. The occupant of that car, a woman, was trapped inside the vehicle and had to be cut out by the East St. Louis Fire Department. She was taken to St. Louis University Hospital with serious injuries, a news release from the Fairview Heights Police Department said.

A woman from the Murano laid on the ground for several minutes until an ambulance arrived. Police patted her down before she was placed on a stretcher. The man who was driving the Murano sat on the ground with multiple police officers standing around him. He was handcuffed at the scene and put on an ambulance stretcher. Both were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Fairview Heights police later released more details to explain what led to the police pursuit. The Fairview Heights police responded to a call that reported a theft in progress at the Hollister store in St. Clair Square.

“When officers arrived on the scene, the female theft suspect had exited the store so police ran after her on foot.

“The suspect left St. Clair Square and went to a waiting vehicle in the parking lot, Fairview Heights captain John Proffitt said in a press release.

The male driver was standing outside of the vehicle with the door ajar, Proffitt said.

“This male suspect approached the officer, made physical contact and shoved the officer in an attempt to keep him from apprehending the theft suspect,” the release said.

The officer got into a struggle with both suspects, but they were able to get into their vehicle.

The officer managed to exit the vehicle safely. Fairview Heights police attempted to stop the vehicle,”but disengaged due to the erratic driving behavior of the driver,” Proffitt said.

A radio broadcast alerted other police agencies of what was going on. When the unidentified driver exited from Interstate 64 at 111, an assisting agency pursued the vehicle westbound on State Street in East St. Louis. At State Street and 30th, the suspect’s vehicle went into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with another vehicle. That person was taken to St. Louis University Hospital with serious injuries, Proffitt said.

The suspects were arrested on scene and taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police from the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Alorton, Illinois State Police, Washington Park and East St. Louis were on the scene. From 30th Street to State Street the road was blocked off with the huge police presence. Lots of debris from the collision was scattered throughout the street.

Police brought two large evidence bags to the vehicle and put several items from the Murano in them. They also carried a baby car seat from the car and placed it into a police vehicle.

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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