If the charges hold up, Jeffery Pirtle may have felt he had a reason to run.
Because when the 35-year-old Cape Girardeau man allegedly roared his 2004 pickup past 100 mph early Saturday morning, as police reported, he already had four alcohol-related offenses from his years in Dunklin County.
And the cops who were chasing him suspected him of another.
After it was over, Pirtle was in police custody Monday to appear before Judge Gary Kamp on a felony count of driving while intoxicated as an aggravated offender. The high-speed pursuit alleged by prosecutors also prompted a charge of resisting arrest in a manner that created a substantial risk of injury or death. If convicted, Pirtle could be sentenced to up to 11 years in prison.
Pirtle, held on a $25,000 bond, appeared before Kamp via video from the Cape Girardeau County Jail. Pirtle, a recent transplant from Kennett, Mo., asked for more time to get a public defender and Kamp set another court date for Nov. 5.
Pirtle was apprehended at his Cape Girardeau apartment on Whitener Street at about 3:30 a.m., according to trooper Clark Parrott, a spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. A probable-cause statement filed Monday by trooper M. Winder says that the incident began earlier at the Pink Pony in Alexander County, Ill. Parrott said that Pirtle struck a member of their security staff and the statement adds that he also tried to strike a person with his 2004 Dodge Ram a short time later.
The Alexander County Sheriff's Department responded to a call about the incident and Pirtle fled when he saw them coming, Parrott said. The Illinois deputies chased Pirtle across the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, the statement says, and Winder, who was running radar on the Missouri side, clocked him at speeds that exceeded 100 mph.
Winder and officers with the Cape Girardeau Police Department joined the pursuit, following the pickup down Kingshighway. The report says that Pirtle failed to keep his pickup in a single lane, ignored stop signs and sped through intersections. Later, he would also be cited for not keeping his vehicle insured.
After he made it to his apartment building, Winder said, Pirtle jumped from the pickup and ran toward the door, with the officers close behind. He ran to his second-floor apartment and inside, the reports say, closing the door and locking it just as police approached.
As Winder and another officer stood at the door, they heard a woman crying just inside, the statement says. An argument ensued and police kicked in the door, they said, out of worry she was being assaulted. Pirtle was placed in custody. Winder reported that Pirtle smelled strongly of alcohol and later told the trooper he had drank a lot, Winder said.
Later, at the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department, Pirtle refused a breathalyzer, Winder said. Alexander County had filed a speeding charge, as of Monday, though Winder in his report said he expected others.
Pirtle's prior alcohol offenses came in 1999, 2006, 2007 and 2011, all through guilty pleas, according to a review of online court records.
100 Court St., Jackson, Mo.