Man in custody after crash, search in Columbia

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Pictured is the crash scene on Tuesday night.

A Millstadt man was apprehended after evading police for nearly 24 hours following a Tuesday night crash in Columbia.

Emergency personnel responded about 9:10 p.m. Tuesday to a rollover crash on the Route 158 exit ramp onto northbound Route 3 in Columbia. The vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler, was unoccupied upon police arrival. Per witnesses, the driver, a White male in dark clothing, was seen walking toward Route 158.

In addition to Columbia police, responding agencies included Illinois State Police, the Columbia Fire Department and Columbia EMS.

The fire department used its drone to conduct an aerial search for the driver Tuesday night, but that search was unsuccessful.

Police said an ankle bracelet commonly worn by defendants who have been sentenced to parole or probation was found at the scene.

ISP issued an alert that the suspect, a male in his late 40s, had been located riding a mountain bike near Bluffside Road in Columbia around 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, then at the bottom of Cherry Street near Immaculate Conception Cemetery. He was wearing camouflage pants and a light blue shirt.

ISP began aerial surveillance of the area in conjunction with state and local authorities on the ground. The CFD drone was also requested to assist in the search, stationing at Turner Hall.

John H. Cooper

The man was seen shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Joe Boccardi’s restaurant on Main Street. The bike was found on Ritter Road.

The subject was eventually apprehended shortly after 7 p.m. at Bremser Road off Bluffside Road near the police shooting range.

ISP said the suspect, John H. Cooper, 48, of Millstadt, had a warrant on a probation violation out of Wayne County, Mo.

At 4:52 p.m. Wednesday, ISP said it received a tip on the whereabouts of Cooper. The ISP, CPD and Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a wooded area near Bluffside Road and East Cherry Street in Columbia.

With the help of air surveillance and an ISP K9, Cooper was taken into custody without incident.

Cooper was transported to the Monroe County Jail on pending Illinois charges, awaiting release to Wayne County.

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