ROLLA, Mo. -- A Phelps County sheriff's deputy apparently shot two men in a car after they fled from officers and then drove toward two officers who were outside their cars as they continued to flee. The chase was late Thursday afternoon on the north side of Rolla.
The driver of the car has life threatening injuries and was flown to a hospital in Columbia for treatment. The passenger was taken to the hospital in Rolla. The Rolla Police Department didn't release the men's names but said the car has an Indiana license plate. Officers say they found marijuana in the vehicle.
Here's an edited news release from the Rolla Police Department:
On Thursday at about 4:45 p.m., a Rolla police officer tried to stop a westbound passenger car near mile marker 187 on Interstate 44. As the officer exited his vehicle to talk to the driver, the car took off and a pursuit started.
The pursuit turned off I-44 and headed north on U.S. 63. About three miles north of Rolla, the fleeing car collided with the pursuing Rolla police car. The fleeing car continued and eventually led officers down several county roads to the east of U.S. 63 until the pursuing Rolla police car became disabled due to damage sustained in the previous collision. The people in the fleeing car continued.
Law Enforcement Officers from the Rolla Police Department, Phelps County Sheriff's Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol began systematically searching the area that the fleeing vehicle was last seen. Just a short time later, a tip from a citizen led officers to the wanted vehicle, which was parked and occupied on Pinedale Drive in Whispering Pines Subdivision, just off Highway V.
As a Rolla police officer and Phelps County sheriff's deputy attempted to order the driver and passenger out of their vehicle, it sped toward the deputy and officer, who were both outside their cars, narrowly missing both officers. The fleeing car struck the Rolla police car. A deputy fired shots into the fleeing vehicle.
Officers again gave chase and pursued the vehicle southbound on Highway V. It turned off Highway V and entered Hy Point Trailer Park. Once inside the trailer park, the car left the roadway and began driving through yards until the driver eventually lost control and ran his car into the side of a mobile home.
Officers approached the vehicle and took men into custody. Officers then discovered both men were wounded during the shooting just minutes earlier in Whispering Pines Subdivision.
Both men taken to hospitals for medical treatment. Police didn't know their conditions on Thursday night. No law enforcement officers were injured during the pursuit or shooting.
Police found a felony amount of marijuana inside the vehicle. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, Phelps County Sheriff's Department and Rolla Police Department are working together on the investigation.
"I am thankful that no law enforcement officers or citizens were seriously injured today because of the acts of these two individuals. I am very proud of our Phelps County Law Enforcement Officers and the team effort that was put forth by these heroes today! It is because of the close working relationship that our area law enforcement agencies have that led to the successful apprehension of these two dangerous individuals today," said Rolla Police Chief Mark Kearse.