(Information in this report is gathered from police agencies, county courts and emergency radio dispatch. The public is reminded that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and charges may sometimes be dropped or changed as part of the legal process.)
At about 7:25 p.m. Wednesday, Columbia police responded to a property on Skyline Drive off Old Route 3 after homeowners reported a possible bear sighting in the woods behind their home. “There was not a photo or any evidence of the sighting,” Columbia Deputy Police Chief Karla Heine said. “Sergeant (Josh) Bayer sat in the area for quite some time, but no further sightings. So, who knows?”
Suspects who drove away from an early morning traffic stop attempt in East St. Louis were apprehended at a Columbia gas station. East St. Louis police were in pursuit of a silver Kia sometime after 1 a.m., with occupants inside the vehicle possibly in possession of handguns. Sauget police attempted to stop the vehicle, which continued south and west on I-255 and crossed the J.B. Bridge into Missouri before turning around and returning east on I-255. Sauget police located the suspect vehicle at Shell Storage, 223 Southwoods Drive, Columbia, but it was abandoned. Suspects apparently had fled to Moto Mart, located nearby at 286 Southwoods Drive. Columbia police and Monroe County sheriff’s deputies assisted Sauget police in taking the suspects into custody when they exited Moto Mart.
Emergency personnel responded about 9:40 a.m. to a two-vehicle crash on Route 3 northbound just south of Veterans Parkway near Columbia High School. The vehicles involved pulled over to the side of the road following the collision. Police said a 2011 Nissan Maxima driven by Sean O’Brien, 39, of Columbia, struck the rear of a 2014 Honda sedan driven by Wilbert Kraemer, 69, of East Carondelet, which had stopped in traffic. Two passengers in Kraemer’s car, Linda Kraemer, 67, of East Carondelet, and Donald Riddle, 68, of Granite City, were both transported to Belleville Memorial Hospital for precautionary reasons. O’Brien was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
Columbia police and EMS personnel responded shortly before 9 p.m. to the report of a woman who was bitten by her own dog while the animal was alarmed due to fireworks going off nearby. The incident was on Robert Drive in the Columbia Lakes subdivision. The woman was transported to Mercy Hospital South for small lacerations to her face.
Bryan C. Smith, 34, of Carterville, was arrested shortly after 5 a.m. for DUI at 300 Columbia Center.
Shortly after 2 a.m., police were notified of a hit-and-run traffic crash on M&O Station Road. Witnesses observed a vehicle strike a parked vehicle, which caused it to strike another vehicle. The suspect vehicle fled the scene. The witnesses took a cell phone picture of the suspect vehicle. This photo was placed on the department’s Facebook page. Shortly thereafter, police received a tip of the vehicle location. An investigation resulted in the suspect turning himself into police the next day. Kenneth I. Menees, 23, of Millstadt, was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to give information after striking an unattended vehicle.
Monroe County Sheriff
Seth M. Iorio, 19, of Waterloo, was cited for unlawful possession of cannabis and possession of alcohol following a 1:30 a.m. traffic stop on EE Road at Gilmore Lake Road.
Markus F. Herbeck, 28, of Valmeyer, and Kimberly A. Hughes, 33, of Waterloo, were cited for criminal trespass to land at 9708 D Road.
Police are investigating the theft of a vehicle south of Waterloo that was found abandoned nearby a short time later. At about 12:30 a.m., a black Ford Fusion was reported stolen from Red Oak Drive in the Oak Valley Estates subdivision off Route 3 near the Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners dealership south of Waterloo. The vehicle was located unoccupied a short time later in the area of Route 3 and Kaskaskia Road. “Deputies canvassed the area and discovered what is believed to be another vehicle that was burglarized but cannot confirm yet due to not being able to make contact with the vehicle owner,” Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Justin Biggs said. Police are still trying to determine if the victimized vehicles were locked or unlocked at the time of these incidents. A possible suspect vehicle in connection with this case is a dark-colored Dodge Charger, which sped north on Route 3 through Waterloo and Columbia to elude police. Anyone with information is urged to call 618-939-8651.
Robert W. Farmer Jr., 44, of St. Louis was arrested on a Monroe County warrant for driving while license suspended on Route 3.
Daniel W. Besong, 38, of Caseyville, was charged with felony driving while license suspended (fourth offense).