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Region digest 9/13/02

Friday, September 13, 2002

Second Missourian dies of West Nile virus

ST. LOUIS -- A 61-year-old man from St. Louis who tested positive for the West Nile virus has died, state health officials said Thursday, making him the second Missouri resident believed to succumb to the disease.

The man, whose name was not released by the state Department of Health and Senior Services, died Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the city's health department said he was initially hospitalized in July and may have been the first person in the city to test positive for the virus.

Messages left with the city's medical examiner's office were not immediately returned late Thursday, and a spokesman for SSM St. Mary's Hospital in suburban Richmond Heights, where the man was initially treated, said he had no information about the death.

So far, 94 people in Missouri have tested positive for West Nile, including five additional cases announced Thursday by the state health department. They include: a 4-year-old boy, 44-year-old man and 47-year-old woman from St. Louis city; a 45-year-old woman from Saline County; and a 74-year-old man from St. Louis County.

Steele man arrested after high-speed chase

CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. - A Steele man is in custody after leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase late Wednesday.

At 11:20 p.m. Pemiscot County deputies attempted to stop a vehicle west of Steele on Highway 164. The driver evaded officers and a pursuit began.

The driver lost the officers on a dusty rural road, but license information and a vehicle description was relayed to other law enforcement personnel.

A short time later the vehicle was spotted by another Pemiscot County deputy. The chase continued on back roads onto Interstate 55 at Steele, when the driver drove northbound through a southbound construction area at speeds reaching 90 miles per hour.

The suspect was pursued into Hayti, wrecked the car and was found hiding in an apartment.

John Henry Robinson, 19, of Steele is being held in the Pemiscot County Jail with no bond allowed on felony charges of two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and numerous traffic violations.

Ex-jail worker no longer faces stealing charges

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A former Butler County Sheriff's Department employee will not stand trial today for allegedly stealing money from inmate and commissary accounts she handled.

This comes after the state dismissed the Class C felony of stealing against Francine Willoughby on Friday.

Willoughby had been charged Nov. 11, 2000, in connection with thefts that had allegedly occurred in 1998.

Willoughby also recently agreed to settle a lawsuit she had filed against the county and the sheriff's department for $10,000.

Willoughby's case was set for trial in June; however, a mistrial was declared by Senior Judge Paul McGhee when both sides were unable to seat a jury.

-- From staff, wire reports

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