A St. Clair man has been charged after he pulled up next to Maries County sheriff’s deputies and asked them if they wanted to race on Sunday, leading law enforcement officials on a high-speed chase that ended in Vienna.
Sheriff’s deputies and Vienna police officers apprehended the subject, David L. Williams, 31, of St. Clair, on Nov. 25 and took him to the Maries County Jail, where he remains on a $250,000 bond, according to a press release from Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman.
The Maries County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday charged Williams with felony assault in the second degree on a law enforcement officer by recklessly placing a law enforcement officer in apprehension of immediate serious injury by driving a motor vehicle towards the officer’s vehicle at a high rate of speed and felony resisting arrest.
Numerous traffic violations and other charges are expected to be filed at a later date. Heitman said he also expects charges out of Pulaski County for stealing the vehicle pursued by law enforcement.
While Williams was incarcerated in the jail, he attempted to assault a sheriff’s deputy by striking him with his fist. The deputy was forced to use pepper spray on Williams.
Additional charges will be requested with the Maries County Prosecutor’s Office for this attempted assault as well.
According to the sheriff, the initial incident took place while deputies were checking on a stranded motorist on Highway 63 near Vichy early Sunday morning. Williams, who was traveling at a high rate of speed, pulled up next to the deputies and asked them to race.
Williams then sped off, breaking traction and traveled at a high rate of speed away from the sheriff’s deputies.
The vehicle that Williams was driving matched a description of a recent stolen vehicle from Crocker.
Deputies activated their emergency equipment as Williams rapidly accelerated away from them.
The deputies then pursued the vehicle at a high rate of speed. Williams continued to resist arrest and traveled in excess of 90 mph into the Vienna city limits.
Vienna police had a vehicle set up on the side of the road for Williams. As Williams traveled toward the Vienna police officer, the officer was forced to fire two rounds into the engine compartment of the vehicle.
The high-speed pursuit continued through Vienna and police and deputies were able to get the suspect blocked in. Deputies were forced to strike the stolen vehicle using their push bumper to bring it to a complete stop.
As deputies approached the vehicle, Williams continued to resist arrest and he refused to exit the vehicle or open the door. Officers were forced to break out the window of the vehicle to remove the suspect, who appeared to be impaired and possibly under the influence of an illegal controlled substance.
Page 2 of 2 - While processing the vehicle, deputies located suspected stolen property as well.
“I must say this is one of the most unusual cases I have ever been involved in,” Heitman said. “It was as if the driver of the vehicle was deliberately taunting the sheriff’s deputies and breaking the law in front of them for them to give chase.
“I have never had someone in a stolen car pull up to sheriff’s deputies and ask them if they wanted to race and then take off at a high rate of speed,” the sheriff said.
“I am thankful no one was hurt in this very dangerous and lengthy high speed pursuit. I appreciate the assistance of the Vienna Police Department to help us safely take this dangerous felon off the roadway,” Heitman said, noting that law enforcement officers never like to discharge their weapons in the line of duty, but sometimes it is necessary to protect their lives and the lives of innocent civilians.
Heitman commended Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Turnbough, Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Midkiff and Assistance Police Chief Mark Friedman for the way they handled the situation.
“It is because of their diligent efforts that this dangerous suspect is in jail and no innocent civilians were injured,” the sheriff said.
Williams has 10 prior felony arrests and several convictions. On June 5 of this year, Williams was placed on probation for tampering with a motor vehicle and he is currently out on probation.
Williams also has a felony conviction for stealing a motor vehicle and was released from prison in 2010 for that violation.