A woman from Maine told authorities that a tornado led her to seek shelter in a vehicle at a Platte City business, and she then allegedly used the car to ram through a locked gate in a bizarre incident that led to multiple criminal charges.
At approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, 31-year-old Caroline Hyson was seen on surveillance video entering the KCI Collision Center’s back lot and attempted to open locked doors on a vehicle after the business was closed, according to court documents. She was seen entering the business, looked around before going back outside.
Hyson located a maroon Honda Accord, with the keys inside, doors unlocked and got inside the vehicle and backed out of the parking spot, a probable cause statement said.
The surveillance video showed Hyson ramming the locked gate once before backing up then ramming the gate a second time, breaking the lock. She then drove through the gate and left the premises.
The owner of the vehicle advised that Hyson did not have permission to take the Accord. The owner of the business advised that Hyson did not have permission to be on the lot or in the building after normal business hours.
Hyson advised in an interview with authorities that she had been walking in the area of the business in rural Platte City and was caught in a tornado. According to court documents, she said entered the premises through an open gate and thought she heard someone in the shop before going inside.
After not seeing anyone, Hyson advised that it was raining and storming and that she saw a tornado and got into an unlocked truck at the business and advised that she stayed in the truck until the tornado passed.
While there were thunderstorms in the area on the date of the incident, no tornadoes were officially reported by the National Weather Service.
Continuing in the interview, Hyson said that the Honda “just appeared” and she got in it and was scared because the gates had been locked. She advised that she then attempted to ram the gate and was going to leave the car after getting out of the lot, but she felt safe in the vehicle and left it in.
Hyson advised that she thought she was a road that connected the highways, but it went into the river. She said that she left the vehicle then attempted to walk to a nearby house.
There’s no indication in court documents on whether the vehicle was recovered.
Hyson’s driver’s license was suspended through Maine, and she has been charged with felony stealing, misdemeanor property damage and misdemeanor driving while license was suspended. She remains in custody at the Platte County Detention Center in lieu of a $10,000 cash-only bond, pending a mental evaluation.