Stolen car crashes in Columbia, helper has truck stolen

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The Metro-East Auto Theft Task Force is investigating following an early Monday morning incident involving a car stolen out of Missouri that resulted in a truck stolen in Columbia.

Shortly before 6 a.m., Columbia police were notified of a 2004 black Toyota Camry with Missouri plates and side damage traveling north in the southbound lanes of Route 3 near EE Road south of Waterloo. The vehicle was reported to emergency dispatch by a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department deputy who was traveling south on Route 3 in that area and was nearly struck by the wrong way driver.

The Toyota continued north, police said, eventually making it into the northbound lanes. In the area of Route 3 near the Palmer Road overpass, the Toyota drove between two northbound vehicles, scraping both before skidding across the southbound lanes and rolling down an embankment near the soccer fields.

A local man driving a 2012 gray Dodge RAM southbound on Route 3 saw the Toyota crash and stopped on the side of the road to help, police said. Upon realizing there was no one around the crashed Toyota, the local resident realized that his truck had just been stolen.

Columbia police called in the plates on the crashed Toyota, and St. Louis police soon determined it had been stolen in their venue earlier in the night.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

The vehicles that were scraped by the stolen Toyota were a 2018 Chevrolet Trax driven by Zach Courtright, 29, of Waterloo, and a 2011 Ford Ranger driven by Gerald Straub, 63, of Waterloo.

The stolen Dodge RAM has since been recovered in St. Louis city, Capt. Matt Jany of the Metro-East Auto Theft Task Force said, but the case remains under investigation.

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