October 25, 2014

Three squad cars damaged in southwest Iowa chase

A traffic stop late last night in southwest Iowa led to a high-speed chase across several counties, three dented squad cars and a search for some very cold suspects. Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren says the chase began around 9:30 P.M. after the driver of a pickup truck refused to stop. At times, speeds topped 100 miles an hour.

The chase went into Montgomery County, where a police cruiser was rammed, and continued into Page County where two more police cruisers were rammed. The pickup crashed and after a lengthy manhunt, the two suspects turned themselves in just before 1:30 A.M. Both suspects were suffering from hypothermia. They’re identified as 21-year-old Johnathan Tyler McAlpin of Red Oak and 22-year-old Alexandra Marie Sindt of Griswold.

Sheriff McLaren says authorities in Montgomery County have charged McAlpin, who was driving the pickup, with felony criminal mischief and assault with a deadly weapon upon a peace officer, as the result of the alleged ramming of a police cruiser. “We feel pretty lucky that no one was hurt,” McLaren says.

Page County is also charging McAlpin with several felonies, including two counts of assault with intent to cause serious injury, eluding, criminal mischief, and OWI. Sindt, who was a passenger in the vehicle,  is charged in Page County with interference with official acts. More charges are expected from Cass County.

McLaren says he hopes the judge will take into consideration how the pickup driver showed such a lack of concern over the safety of law enforcement officers. “Every night they take their life on the line and I’m just happy no one was hurt,” he says. “They seemed to act professionally. Whenever you get in a chase with that kind of speeds on gravel, everybody gets a little worried about going home.”

He says these kinds of incidents are reminders of just how dangerous a simple traffic stop can be for law enforcement, but that in this instance, the outcome was good, in terms of the arrests and that no one was injured.

(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)