A suspect is in custody at the Lincoln County Jail after a high-speed chase that sped through three counties on Monday.
Markell L. Lawrence, 17, of St. Louis City, has been charged with one count of second-degree assault of a special victim in Lincoln County.
At around noon, Troy Police Department officers began a pursuit with a vehicle driven by Lawrence heading southbound on U.S. Highway 61 near Highway K.
Missouri State Highway Patrol ceased its pursuit of the vehicle near the construction site on U.S. 61 at the Cuivre River. Troy officers picked up the pursuit after attempting to stop the vehicle, but were unsuccessful as the vehicle picked up speed.
According to police, an officer attempted to deploy spike strips along the highway at South Lincoln Drive, but was thwarted when Lawrence allegedly drove toward the officer, forcing the officer to take evasive action to avoid being hit by the vehicle.
“When we pursue a vehicle, we do what we can to keep people safe,” said Det. Tony Stewart, Troy Police public information officer. “We did deploy spike strips (to slow the vehicle down), but when (Lawrence) went at one of our officers, he became a threat to public safety.”
The pursuit then continued southbound on U.S. 61 to eastbound Interstate 70. Highway Patrol rejoined the pursuit, along with officers from the O'Fallon and St. Peters Police Departments.
Spike strips were successfully deployed near the Missouri Highway 79 overpass, slowing the vehicle down. Lawrence crashed his vehicle near the Mid Rivers Mall Drive exit, and fled on foot.
Troy Police said he then stole a delivery van from a local Costco near where he crashed his vehicle. St. Charles County Sheriff's Department deputies then joined St. Peters in the chase with the stolen van.
The pursuit would go into St. Louis County and St. Louis City, where Lawrence struck a car at Kingshighway and Bircher Boulevard. The chase finally ended in Floridell Hills near Jennings Station Road and West Florissant Boulevard around 1 p.m., when the suspect crashed into another parked van before fleeing on foot.
Stewart said one Troy Police officer stayed with the pursuit for the most of the way, but ceased once he reached St. Louis City.
Lawrence was apprehended shortly after. Detectives were notified by St. Peters officers that a bag with a loaded handgun was found in Lawrence’s possession.
Lawrence struck multiple vehicles while attempting to evade law enforcement officers during the chase.
“There is a level of danger in everything we do, and we wanted to keep the public safe,” Stewart said. “This individual had no respect for anyone’s safety, including his own, as evidenced by the way he was driving.
“Our objective is to bring those people to justice – and keep the public safe.”
Lawrence is being held at the Lincoln County Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond. He is also facing additional charges in at least five other jurisdictions related to the chase.
No injuries were reported.