A 33-year-old Wathena, Kan. man faces a felony and five misdemeanors in Platte County, stemming from a pursuit that traversed three counties last month. Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd filed the charges Tuesday, Jan. 6 against Jessie L. Edwards for his role in a chase that started at about 9 a.m. on Dec. 11 on Interstate 29, south of Platte City, and went into Clinton County and ended with an abandoned vehicle located in St. Joseph, Mo. Edwards already faces a felony charge in Buchanan County for leaving the scene of an accident.
Edwards was arrested and identified as the driver of a brown Jeep Grand Cherokee that crashed in downtown St. Joseph, Mo., according to a probable cause statement.
The keys to the vehicle were found in Edwards’ pocket, while a sawed off shotgun and stolen registration were recovered from the vehicle. He also had an active felony warrant at the time. During an interview, Edwards said he left his sister’s house in Kansas City approximately 45 minutes prior to being arrested but could not recall how he got there and did not admit to driving.
Edwards identified the vehicle as belonging to him, but when asked how the Jeep got to St. Joseph, he told authorities, “Let’s say, allegedly, if you were to look at this Jeep, very possibly the Jeep ran out of gas; that’s my guess,” according to the court documents.
Edwards also made dismissive statements like, “If you’re looking for a confession, it’s not in this room,” before later ending the interview by saying, “I will say one thing. I will say a lot of things were regrettable today.”
According to the probable cause statement, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper attempted to stop a brown Jeep for improper use of dealer registration.
The vehicle immediately accelerated north on I-29, reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. The driver passed vehicles on both shoulders as the chase sped through Platte City before exiting at Route E/Highway U toward Camden Point with Platte County Sheriff’s deputies joining the pursuit.
After going eastbound for miles, the vehicle went back north on Route DD toward Dearborn.
The Jeep then turned left on Route Z and started back eastbound before stopping in a private driveway and proceeding into a bean field. The driver eventually went back through the entrance after encountering a barbed-wire fence in the field, and he nearly struck a Platte County Sheriff’s deputy outside of his vehicle. The chase continued east with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office taking over while the trooper dropped out.
The pursuit went into Clinton County where other agencies joined.
The fleeing vehicle caused two accidents and attempted to strike a Gower (Mo.) Police Department vehicle. The Jeep was next located in St. Joseph with no driver before Edwards was found nearby. Edwards faces up to nine years in prison on the Platte County charges and four for fleeing the accident in Buchanan County.
The felony in Platte County is for resisting arrest by fleeing while the misdemeanors are for exceeding the posted speed limit by 26 miles per hour or more, failure to drive on the right half of the roadway, trespassing, operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner and displaying the motor vehicle plates of another person.