Crime

Cahokia man bragged about leading cops on high-speed chase. Now he’s going to prison.

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According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.
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According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.

A Cahokia man who bragged online about leading police on a high-speed chase two years ago is now being sent to prison in connection with the incident.

Lee E. Nichols, 35, was sentenced Wednesday to almost six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to unlawfully possessing methamphetamine and a gun, a news release from U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Illinois stated.

Around midnight on June 21, 2017, a Dupo police officer attempted to stop the Corvette that Nichols was driving. According to the release, Nichols fled and led police on a high-speed chase, which was eventually terminated for safety reasons on the Jefferson Barracks Bridge headed into Missouri.

Two hours later, Nichols posted on Facebook about his getaway, boasting that he had been going over 120 mph, the release stated.. A week later, he uploaded a video to the same Facebook page about the incident, claiming he would do it again and threatening to hurt any police officer who got in his way.

Recognizing Nichols from past encounters, the Dupo Police Department obtained warrants for his arrest and began looking for him, the release stated. He was caught by an off-duty police officer on July 16, 2017, when the officer recognized him at a bar in Columbia. On-duty officers arrived and arrested him on the outstanding warrants.

During the arrest, the release stated, he was found to be in possession of 0.8 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded Colt .22 pistol. Because of his criminal history, including a 2003 conviction of aggravated assault, Nichols was not allowed to be in possession of a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle sentenced him to 71 months in prison. According to the release, Nichols made a plea deal. He was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release and must forfeit the gun.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
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