A Troy man at large for nearly a day after being charged by St. Charles prosecutors in connection with a road rage altercation resulting in the death of a Winfield man was placed behind bars on Sept. 2.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the suspect, identified as Joshua O’Keefe, 39, turned himself in to patrol officers at Troop C headquarters in Weldon Spring.
On Tuesday, O’Keefe was charged with one-count of second-degree murder. According to the probable cause statement from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, around 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, Troop C patrol officers responded to a call of a fight in progress on westbound Interstate 64, west of Route K.
Once officers arrived on scene, they found a 68-year-old man unconscious in the cab of a black Ford F-150. The victim, later identified as Ron Lawson of Winfield, was hospitalized and later died from injuries sustained in the assault.
O’Keefe fled the scene before officers arrived to the scene. The statement continues to say witnesses told troopers the Ford and a late model Dodge Ram diesel truck with a white trailer stopped on the right shoulder of I-64 westbound. Witnesses then said both Lawson and O’Keefe got out of their vehicles and approached each other.
O’Keefe then ran toward Lawson and punched him in the face, then picked him up and punched Lawson at least one more time, before placing the victim in his truck, and leaving him there until law enforcement officers arrived.
Another witness later contacted the MSHP, indicating he had a dashboard which caught video of a truck resembling O’Keefe’s exiting I-64 onto Route DD, about three miles from the incident, around 11:33 a.m. Troopers pulled screenshots from the video and posted the images on social media, asking the public for assistance in locating O’Keefe, not knowing his identity at the time.
Later that evening, a second witness believed O’Keefe had visited her residence to test drive some golf carts she was selling in Chesterfield about an hour before the fatal assault on Lawson. Before leaving her home, he told her he was heading to Wentzville to test another golf cart.
On Aug. 31, another witness contacted MSHP to tell troopers he believed the vehicle in question was at his residence in Lake St. Louis, and purchased a golf cart from him at about 11:45 a.m.
He identified O’Keefe as the man he sold the vehicle to, and the vehicle he was driving. The witness also indicated his neighbors had security cameras, and would try to get that footage.
The prosecutors’ statement continues to say O’Keefe’s employer called MSHP to inform them the trailer displayed on social media looked similar to one owned by the company. After meeting with the employer, MSHP told prosecutors the trailer was in a different spot on Aug 31 than it was when O’Keefe left work the previous weekend, and he had taken it for personal use without permission.
When asked if the suspect was at work, the employer said O’Keefe had called in sick, which was unlike him. Troopers then drove to O’Keefe’s residence, but he was not home. The suspect’s wife then arrived in his truck, said she didn’t know his whereabouts and refused to answer questions without an attorney present.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said numerous calls were made to O’Keefe’s mobile phone, but were neither answered nor returned.
MSHP and the St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney’s Office believe O’Keefe is a danger to the community because he has a criminal history with several assaults on his record. According to the report, his co-workers describe him as “having a temper.”
(All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)