Crash leaves fleeing suspects paralyzed

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

ST. PETERS, Mo. -- Two people suspected of robbing a suburban St. Louis fast-food restaurant at gunpoint were left paralyzed after their car crashed while they were trying to get away, police said.

Sgt. David Kuppler of the St. Peters police said the 30-year-old man and 26-year-old woman are both from St. Louis. Their names were not released because formal charges had not been filed.

The woman was paralyzed from the neck down. The man was paralyzed from the waist down.

Kuppler said the robbery happened at 5:30 a.m. Saturday at a Jack in the Box. A man entered the front door using a key and stole the manager's purse and money.

The man then ran to a 1997 Nissan driven by the woman, who police said was identified as a former restaurant employee.

Officers began pursuit of the car after noticing it speeding and got a radio dispatch that the car had just been involved in an armed robbery.

The woman did not pull over. As the couple's car entered a construction area, the woman lost control of the car and it flipped over end-to-end several times.

The man was thrown from the car across the highway and landed in an embankment. The car collided with bales of hay along the side of the road, and the woman was impaled in her upper back by one of the 3-inch wooden stakes used to secure the bales, police said.

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