The Dupo Police Department conducted a successful pursuit of a vehicle that evaded a traffic stop attempt near I-255 about 9:30 p.m. and led police into Missouri before pulling over.
Dupo Police Chief Kevin Smith was conducting Illinois Department of Transportation seat belt enforcement patrol when an older model white Ford Windstar minivan with one headlight and no license plates passed by him in the 100 block of South Main Street in Dupo. Smith initiated a traffic stop, but the van continued onto I-255 southbound approaching speeds of 100 miles per hour and took I-255 westbound across the Jefferson Barracks Bridge into Missouri. The East Carondelet and Columbia police departments and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department were alerted to the pursuit and stationed in the area in case they were needed for assistance.
Smith said the minivan continued west on I-255 to westbound I-270 before taking the Tesson Ferry Road exit. Smith attempted to block the vehicle by positioning in front of it, during which the minivan nearly rammed the Dupo police vehicle before driving the wrong way onto I-270 southbound and then taking I-55 southbound toward Jefferson County, Mo.
From there, the minivan took the Butler Hill Road exit on I-55 and the driver threw something out of the vehicle, Smith said. Just east of this exit, Smith said the minivan began to slow down and he again got in front to stop it.
“As I exited my patrol car, I drew my weapon and yelled for the driver to stop the van and put her hands up,” Smith said. “She
began going in reverse. Traffic was starting to get heavy and she had nowhere to go. She stopped the van. I gave her several commands to put the van in park and exit the vehicle. She had her hands up but stated there was no shifter so she could not put the car in park.”
A St. Louis County officer and East Carondelet officers arrived to assist Smith in taking the driver into custody.
The driver, Brandi E. Wheeler, 25, of Potosi, Mo., was wanted on multiple Missouri warrants. Further charges are pending.