Law officers have wild morning after truck, trailer are reported stolen in the Ocie area
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed said Monday that an initial call from an Ocie-area resident reporting his truck and trailer missing on Oct. 6 quickly took an exciting turn that ended with the officers engaging in a high-speed chase and also recovering another vehicle allegedly stolen by the suspect.
Reed said that around 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Ocie resident Tom Bebout called the sheriff’s office and reported that his 2017 Dodge dually one-ton truck with attached trailer had been stolen from his house on OO Highway.
“I was on my way out there [with Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Curtis Dobbs], and when I turned down OO Highway, I looked to the right, and a newer SUV was backed into a field area. I thought it looked kind of suspicious, so we ran the license plate,” Reed said. “It came back as stolen from Forsyth earlier that morning.“
Reed met with Bebout and put out a BOLO, meaning “be on the lookout” to other area law enforcement agencies. Just as he was finishing up with Bebout’s report and was waiting on a wrecker to come pick up the nearby stolen SUV for processing, Reed got a call from Taney County Sheriff’s deputies, who said they were in pursuit of Bebout’s truck, which was headed from Forsyth toward the Ozark County line.
“We were set up at Mark Twain School, and he come in with the truck and large trailer. I thought he was going to broadside us on the sharp corner,” Reed said.
Somehow the truck and trailer missed the officers’ vehicle, and they pulled out in pursuit of the stolen vehicle and trailer, which reached speeds of 80 miles per hour down on Highway 160.
“Just as he approached OO Highway, I couldn’t believe it, but he turned and headed toward Bebout’s house, where he had reportedly stolen the truck and had stashed the stolen SUV as well. As soon as we went down there, I could see Sam’s Towing had his rollback blocking the road, loading the stolen SUV,” Reed said.
“The Taney County dispatcher was saying the whole time that the driver was reaching for something, because they were watching the videos from the officers’ cars. They warned that the suspect could have been reaching for a weapon,” Reed said.
“He couldn’t get through the blocked road, and on the other side of the wrecker was a propane tank. So we thought right there, we were going to have a shootout,” he said.
“The guy took to the ditch and went out into the field. He baled out of the truck and took off into the woods. I looked in my passenger’s seat, and Curt had jumped out of the vehicle and was running after him,” Reed said.
The truck crashed into a growth of trees, and officers were quick to catch up with the suspect and arrest him.
Reed said they were later notified that the suspect was wanted for seven auto thefts in Taney County. The suspect has not yet been identified, pending charges expected to be filed in Ozark County later this week in connection with the incident.