PITTSBURG — A pursuit of a suspect wanted for multiple charges, including theft of the vehicle he was driving, began in Joplin and ended in Pittsburg on Sunday.
“It sounds like this individual allegedly stabbed somebody over in Joplin, burglarized a house and then stole that vehicle and got in a pursuit,” Crawford County Sheriff Danny Smith said at the scene where the chase ended at 9th and Michigan streets in Pittsburg.
Smith confirmed Monday that the suspect in the case is Jaime Figueroa of Carthage, Missouri.
Officers from law enforcement agencies including the Joplin Police Department and Jasper County Sheriff’s Office pursued the suspect as he fled down Highway 171.
“Then he came over to the Kansas side, we ended up getting in the pursuit also, ended up stop-sticking him at 4th and the bypass, he got into town here,” Smith said. “His tires were starting to fall apart.”
As officers pursuing the suspect — from agencies by this time including the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, Pittsburg Police Department and Kansas Highway Patrol — chased him through Pittsburg, the suspect was allegedly attempting to get rid of evidence, throwing drugs from the vehicle.
“I’ve got methamphetamine just scattered all over the road down here,” one officer was heard saying on a law enforcement radio frequency.
Smith confirmed Monday that Figueroa was suspected of attempting to dispose of evidence.
“He’d been tossing items out of the vehicle and deputies were able to recover what they believe to be methamphetamine,” Smith said.
After leading pursuing officers south down Michigan Street, Smith said, the suspect lost control of the stolen vehicle at the intersection with 9th Street and both he and a Crawford County sheriff’s deputy in close pursuit ran off the road, where the suspect’s vehicle crashed into a telephone pole and the sheriff’s vehicle crashed into the stolen vehicle.
“He jumped out, took off, and then laid down and surrendered,” Smith said, adding that no one was injured in apprehending the suspect, who has been taken into custody and transported to the Crawford County Jail.
“We’ll have some charges on the Kansas side, and then like I said the most serious stuff was over on the Missouri side,” Smith said.
Figueroa faces charges in Crawford County including interference with law enforcement, fleeing or attempting to elude, driving on a suspended license, possession of paraphernalia with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, possession of narcotics with intent to distribute, and possession of stolen property.
Pittsburg Police Lt. Ben Henderson said although the PPD assisted in the arrest, including in the deployment of the spike strip that led to the stolen vehicle being stopped, he could not provide additional details about the case.
Capt. Nick Jimenez of the Joplin Police Department said the department had forwarded charges to the Jasper County prosecutor’s office but charges had not formally been filed. The prosecutor’s office confirmed Monday morning that charges were pending but could not provide additional details.