Pursuit ends in crash near Columbia


Columbia EMS, police and fire personnel were called around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon to westbound I-255 near the Fish Lake overpass just east of the J.B. Bridge for a one-vehicle crash with the vehicle catching fire and one subject attempting to flee the scene.

Columbia police were not involved the pursuit, which began when Cahokia police attempted to stop a white 2006 Volvo S60 with four occupants. The car matched a vehicle description in recent area car burglaries. The vehicle fled from police and continued on I-255south past Dupo. Dupo police also followed, but both departments terminated pursuit when speeds reached in excess of 120 miles per hour near the I-255 curve at Route 3.

Police observed smoke shortly after stopping pursuit and alerted Columbia departments.

The Volvo struck a guardrail west of the Fish Lake overpass, flipped over and caught fire. Three of the occupants were able to exit the vehicle. The driver, Zyron A. Smith of Cahokia, was initially unresponsive and was extricated when a Columbia police officer used a fire extinguisher and pulled the 19-year-old male from the car.

The other occupants, two females and one male, all juveniles, were taken into custody. One of the females fled the scene but was soon apprehended.

The Columbia Fire Department paged the Mehlville Fire Department to provide mutual aid, but canceled the call when they were able to control the blaze.

All four occupants were taken to Mercy South Hospital. Three of the occupants had minor injuries. The driver had more serious injuries, but they were not life-threatening.

Another car was struck by the fleeing vehicle, but damage was minimal, police said.

Illinois State Police handled the crash, with Cahokia police investigating the incident prior to the pursuit.

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