A high-speed car chase in Missouri that ended with a Des Plaines man shot to death by police began more than four hours earlier after the man first fled a traffic stop in southwestern Illinois, authorities say.
Louis Kink, operations lieutenant for Illinois State Police District 18, said police initially stopped the vehicle Jose H. Garcia, 49, would later flee in about 6:45 a.m. Friday on Interstate 55, a few miles south of Litchfield, Ill.
Kink said a woman was driving the car, which police stopped because its license plate didn't match with the vehicle. The woman got out and was sitting in the responding officer's squad car when Garcia got into the driver's seat and drove off, police said.
Police said because the officer had the woman in his vehicle he couldn't pursue Garcia, but an alert was sent out and other officers began searching for the Dodge.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois State Police said she did not know where the woman was from and was unsure if her name is an alias. She said there will be further investigation regarding the woman.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Juston Wheetley said a Missouri trooper spotted the vehicle traveling outside the city of Pacific, Mo. about 11 a.m. and attempted to make a traffic stop. Garcia refused to stop and a high-speed chase on eastbound Interstate 44 ensued.
Garcia took an exit onto Highway 109 and headed into the city of Eureka, where he was boxed-in by police in a residential area, Wheetley said. At some point during the chase, officers were able to deflate Garcia's tires with spikes, forcing him to travel at low speeds in the neighborhood, he added.
Officers eventually surrounded the vehicle about noon, but Garcia accelerated and showed a gun, Wheetley said, adding that it is still unclear if he fired the weapon. Officers responded by shooting at Garcia, who was struck multiple times. He was transported to Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, where he was pronounced dead.
Officers from the St. Louis County Police Department, Eureka Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff's Department assisted with the pursuit of Garcia, which Wheetley said lasted between 45 and 50 minutes.
There were reports that Garcia and the female he was traveling with in Illinois were wanted on multiple warrants, but Wheetley was unable to confirm.
The shooting is still under investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.