BELLE — A Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) pursuit of a wanted Linn man Friday morning ended in a crash and minor injuries to his two female passengers.
The fleeing man, identified as Shay Michael Vinson, 23, left both women in the Mazda, which was on its side, and fled on foot.
The MSHP began pursuing Shay Michael Vinson, 23, of Linn, around 10:41 a.m. Nov. 15, after attempting to make a traffic stop, according to Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman. The high-speed chase began from Highway 28 at the intersection of Route NN between Bland and Belle and continued through Belle.
“The pursuit began because the Highway Patrol recognized the vehicle travelling west on Highway 28 that was occupied by a wanted person,” said Heitman. “Vinson has several warrants for his arrest.”
Arrest warrants stem from two separate cases, one was issued Oct. 21, in Judge John B. Berkemeyer’s court in Osage County for failure to appear. Berkemeyer is a senior, retired judge who is serving as an interim judge in Osage County. A warrant was issued Sept. 30, and served Oct. 2 for parole violation “with an eye to revocation.”
Vinson was considered to be armed and was also wanted for a recent robbery in Belle.
“Approximately three weeks ago, Vinson displayed a gun and stole a debit card, then went and used it,” Heitman said. “He is also a suspect in stealing another car and a truck.”
Heitman and his deputies joined the pursuit at 10:55 a.m. Vinson crashed his vehicle at the intersection of Maries County Roads 402 and 405, 3 miles west of Belle, flipping it over onto its side. MSHP stayed with the trapped female until Belle’s Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene.
“As we arrived on scene, it was put out that the suspect stole a dump truck west of County Road 402 and drove it into a creek,” Heitman said. “Osage County Canine Unit started searching at 11 a.m. to no avail, and MSHP Air Control Unit was in the air searching.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation and Gasconade County Sheriff’s deputies were also on scene.
Check points were set up from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. near the crash site.
“We were checking every car,” Heitman said. “I think he got out after they closed the check points.”
The Maries R-2 School District in Belle was put on a precautionary soft lock-down during the day.
Caleb Cooper, the school resource officer for the Maries County School District, said they didn’t have any issues.
“They did a soft lock down,” Cooper said. “They didn’t restrict movements inside the school, but no one from the outside was allowed inside and none of the students were allowed outside without a staff escort.”
The school was in lock-down from 11 a.m. until school let out.
When the suspect had not been apprehended by 3 p.m., Nov. 15, Heitman and Belle Marshal Joe Turnbough contacted the school to determine which buses had routes near the crash site and check points. Turnbough was involved in the pursuit of Vinson earlier in the day.
Turnbough, Sgt. Brian Brennan, and Maries County Deputy and Cooper determined they would escort buses No. 8 and No. 21 that would be traveling near the crash site.
“Since we have buses that go in that direction, we will escort them out there so kids get home safe,” Turnbough said on Friday as kids loaded the buses.
Maries R-2 Superintendent Dr. Lenice Basham said the escort was for safety purposes, they did not expect trouble.
“We just want parents to know we are taking this serious,” Basham said. “We aren’t expecting anything. Police seem to think he is out of the area already. We are going to have a successful trip home.”
Cooper said parents met students at the bus stop.
Heitman said the area where Vinson escaped was heavily wooded. That evening, the sheriff’s department received reports of a truck crashed into a fence. Around 7:27 p.m., a 1988 Dodge pickup truck was located south of Bland along Holt Road in Gasconade County. It was apparently stolen earlier in Maries County.
“We found the truck before it was reported stolen,” Heitman said.
Deputies stayed in the area all night, according to Heitman. They received information on Monday, Nov. 18, that Vinson was in a black truck that was stolen out of Owensville.
“We were not able to confirm it was him, however, when deputies located the vehicle, it was unoccupied and the suspect had fled, which is Vinson’s MO (modus operandi — method of operating),” Heitman said. “The truck is being processed for fingerprinting. If it has Vinson’s fingerprints, we will charge him with that also.”
He remains at large as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Heitman.
No bond warrant issued
Vinson was sentenced in August 2019 to 10 years in the Department of Corrections in a guilty plea before Circuit Judge Craig Hellmann in Linn to possession of a controlled substance. The execution of the sentence was suspended and Vinson was ordered to serve five years of supervised probation consecutive with another Gasconade County sentence. He was also ordered to complete an alternative court program.
A citation was issued Oct. 8 by the court against Vinson on Missouri Division of Probation and Parole allegation he violated directives that he obey special conditions of his treatment court. He was taken into custody that day and held until Oct. 14 when he was released on his own recognizance. He failed to appear for his treatment program and the no bond warrant was issued Oct. 21.
Berkemeyer was assigned to the case on Nov. 1.
Vinson is scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. Dec. 5 in Judge I. I. “Ike” Lamke’s Gasconade County court to answer to charges in two separate cases from October 2018 — four days apart — alleging the class D felony possession of controlled substance in one and a class E felony for resisting arrest in the other. Three other misdemeanor charges accompany the resisting arrest case.