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Toxicology: Man killed in slow-speed pursuit was drunk

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A memorial is seen Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 at the site where James M. Pyles was killed Oct. 16 in a one-vehicle accident on Perryville Road near Kiwanis Park.
(Fred Lynch)
A man involved in a slow-speed police pursuit and fatal car crash in October was under the influence of alcohol, according to toxicology reports.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab reported that James M. Pyles' blood alcohol level was at .202 of a percent -- more than twice the legal limit for driving -- when he drove his vehicle into a tree on Perryville Road after being pursued by two Cape Girardeau police cruisers Oct. 16, said Cape Girardeau Police Department spokesman Darin Hickey.

Police said at the time the pursuit followed an incident in which a person was threatened by Pyles with a high-powered rifle outside an apartment building. After the crash, officers described Pyles' behavior as "strange," stating that he maintained a slow speed until the crash.

Because of high levels of alcohol in Pyles' blood, the coroner was unable to run tests for any other substances, Hickey said. The cause of death was determined by Coroner John Clifton to be massive trauma.

After the crash, police said they would continue to investigate what happened to see if Pyles was suspected of other criminal acts besides the threat. Hickey said a follow-up investigation showed no other crime victims.

Hickey said the discovery of Pyles' firearm, which matched a witness description, was a turning point in the investigation, confirming Pyles was the suspect who made the threat.

"Because we found the weapon in his vehicle, we didn't have to search or make any other arrests," Hickey said. "That did allow us to answer a few more questions and focus our investigation."

Hickey said there has been "speculation" as to what led to Pyles' behavior that night, but the police were unable to find any evidence.

Pyles had a criminal history including weapons and DUI violations.



Pertinent address:

Perryville Road and Rotary Drive, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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"slow-speed police pursuit and fatal car crash"

Most do not die from a slow-speed accident. Sounds like CGPD and the city are covering their wallet.

-- Posted by re.tired on Tue, Feb 5, 2013, at 8:32 PM

Vulpes: Have about five drinks, get in your car, don't put on your seat belt, drive off the road at about 35-40 mph and hit a giant tree head on. Then come back and comment about the experience.

Really, I would have thought someone would have blamed the casino for this.

-- Posted by ParkerDaws on Tue, Feb 5, 2013, at 9:32 PM

Vulpes, Please give the police some credit. While your sleeping they are out trying to protect you and your family. To what would it benefit them to cover up this tragic accident?

-- Posted by Jim P on Wed, Feb 6, 2013, at 1:42 PM

Jim, You need to inform yourself before automatically taking Cape's police side on "pursuits". Search the Missourian archive, take note the number of chases and property damage over the last 6 years. In most chases public assets were damaged, unnecessarily costing taxpayers money. Not to mention the risk they put innocent by-standers in.

To answer the question you proposed to Vulpes, "what would it benefit them to cover up this tragic accident?" A lawsuit by the dead man's family, which would bring all details of this "pursuit" to light.

This is not a new issue. Cape needs a safer pursuit policy; soon rather than later.

-- Posted by persnickety on Wed, Feb 6, 2013, at 2:13 PM

So they shouldn't attempt to take a drunk driver off the street? Nice, Jane. Let's just let drunks have the right of way, and let them potentially kill an innocent bystander. At least the police are sober and attempt to not hit anyone. A drunk person can't say the same thing.

There is no safer pursuit policy. That's asinine to even suggest it. When in pursuit, the criminal is not really in the business of caring what happens, as long as they get away. When they have that frame of mind, the police try to get them to slow down or stop safely. That's where you have spikes, and worse comes to worse, and they need to end the chase then, the P.I.T. These are pursuits. There is nothing safe about them, and there never will be, until the ones running from the police only run doing the speed limit, using their blinkers, and following the rules at the stoplights. Then you'll have a safe chase, aka, when pigs fly.

-- Posted by xXAngelicEvilXx on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 9:43 AM

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