A high-speed chase Saturday afternoon in the Cabool area ended when the suspect, who ditched his first vehicle and stole another during the pursuit, sprayed two officers with Mace as he was apprehended.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Christopher A. Hunt, 32, of Springfield, was charged with felony second-degree assault of two law enforcement officers, two felony tampering of a motor vehicle counts, three counts of second-degree attempted assault with a dangerous instrument, armed criminal action and resisting arrest by fleeing. He is held without bond at the Texas County Jail.
The pursuit – on several roads and reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour – began around 2 p.m. in the Dunn area as a patrolman spotted a vehicle traveling the wrong direction on U.S. 60, according to Sgt. Jeff Kinder. Hunt fled in the vehicle, which was stolen from Springfield, and traveled east along U.S. 60 through downtown Cabool before reaching the area of Market Drive and Airport Road.
Officers with several agencies looked for the silver Chrysler on highways and township roads. They didn’t locate it. But the patrol said a citizen observed Hunt stealing and driving away from a residence in a Dodge Ram pickup. The citizen notified the Cabool Police Department, which located the vehicle at Highway U and U.S. 63.
The pursuit continued through several business parking lots in Cabool. Officer Josh Green of the Cabool PD said Hunt nearly struck his vehicle in the Dollar General parking lot at a high rate of speed. In his probable cause statement, Green said he feared for his life.
Authorities continued to pursue Hunt near Second Baptist Church off U.S. 60 near Highway 181. The patrol said the stolen truck left the roadway at Industrial Drive as Hunt drove into the woods to elude authorities. A perimeter was set from U.S. 60 to Bluebird Road and Russell Drive.
Sgt. Dale Pounds of the patrol said he and Tpr. Kathryn Goodwin went into the woods and located the stolen truck wedged between two trees. Hunt, who was still inside the vehicle, was spinning the tires and creating a large amount of black smoke as he attempted to get loose. Pounds said Hunt yelled for the officers to shoot him as they approached.
Pounds said Hunt resisted arrest and attempted to roll up his window. Pounds was able to stop him and with a free hand, sprayed Hunt with Mace and applied one handcuff. But with his free hand, Hunt grabbed Mace from the stolen vehicle and sprayed both Pounds and Goodwin. Pounds said he lost his sight but was able to contain Hunt and place the handcuffs on his free hand.
In his probable cause statement, Pounds said his vision was shut down as Goodwin held Hunt on the ground. He said he heard Goodwin yell that the suspect had her gun, so he dropped to his knees, located the officer and suspect, and applied pressure to Hunt to immobilize him.
Both Pounds and Goodwin were transported by ambulance to Texas County Memorial Hospital to be decontaminated and checked for injuries. Hunt also was sent there before arriving at the Texas County Jail.
A man who jumped from the moving vehicle during the beginning of the pursuit was not charged, Kinder said.