A Moscow Mills man was taken into custody after leading police officers on a wild high-speed chase down Highway 61 in Troy, crashing into numerous vehicles and causing several injuries in the process.
According to Troy Police, at around 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, officers were informed of a light brown truck driving recklessly on the highway at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour, passing other vehicles on the shoulder of the road.
When an officer located the truck and attempted to stop it for speeding, the driver, identified as Joshua Cheatham, 30, made a sudden stop and made a U-turn into the northbound lanes of U.S. 61, driving southbound.
While traveling in the wrong direction of the highway to evade law enforcement, witnesses said Cheatham reached speeds of over 100 mph, nearly striking several vehicles along the way.
Officer Ryan Parker pulled in behind the suspect vehicle traveling in the wrong direction to warn oncoming traffic. Officers from the Troy Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office joined in the chase driving parallel to set up spike strips to disable the truck.
According to police, Cheatham then drove through the median onto John Deere Drive near Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners, and continued driving at high speed to evade officers. The suspect then crossed the median back on to Hwy 61, causing three vehicles to crash while attempting to avoid the truck.
Witnesses said Cheatham continued to drive the wrong way down Hwy 61 as officers made an attempt to shut down northbound traffic on the road at Highway U. A fourth vehicle was involved in an accident during the chase, overturning while trying to avoid the truck at the Himmel Road intersection.
The truck then tried to avoid colliding with another vehicle, according to witnesses and officers. Parker then struck the suspect vehicle with his car in the rear driver’s side, sending the truck to a stop in the exit lane at Hwy U. Parker lost control of his vehicle when his airbag deployed, and crashed into the center median.
Witnesses came onto the scene to render aid to Parker – and detain Cheatham. Parker was transported to a St. Charles County hospital for his injuries, and later released.
Cheatham was transported to Mercy Hospital in Troy, before being transported to the Lincoln County Jail. A subsequent search of the truck found several small liquor bottles and a handgun.
“He clearly thought (Cheatham) was going to cause another accident, and people would get hurt – possibly killed,” said Public Information Officer Det. Tony Stewart, of Parker’s actions. “That’s why he chose to disable the vehicle.
“He chose the actions he needed to protect the lives of other drivers on (Hwy 61), and he risked severe bodily injury in the process.”
Cheatham was charged with one count of resisting arrest by fleeing and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident. The Honorable Judge Allsberry set bond at $75,000, cash only.
Cheatham may face additional charges at a later date.
(All persons charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)