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Man accused of making bomb threat at Clay County jail where he was already behind bars

Christopher Degenhardt's booking photo from the Clay County jail.

LIBERTY, Mo. — A man suspected of fleeing Clay County deputies, crashing into an SUV and flipping it at a Liberty home is now also accused of causing a bomb scare at the jail where he was in custody. A grand jury indicted Christopher T. Degenhardt, 21, for making a terrorist threat.

The indictment filed on Tuesday says that Degenhardt caused false belief or fear that there was a plan to detonate bombs at the jail to cause an evacuation, quarantine or closure. Further details about these newly filed allegations are sparse, but he does face up to seven years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Dengenhardt was first taken to jail on July 18 after investigators say deputies chased him for an expired temporary tag, leading to the crash in the 400 block of Moss Avenue that hospitalized for a short time on July 17.

He was charged with resisting a lawful stop, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, specifically heroin and cocaine, and  felony property damage. The crash caused quite a stir in the neighborhood.

“My bedroom window lit up with lights. I thought, ‘What in the heck is going on?’ I came out here in my undershorts, barefooted,” neighbor Jay Cantrell said. “It was the funniest thing. I was dreaming that I was seeing smoke. And when I got here and looked, I was seeing smoke!”

Deputies say Dengenhardt went airborne, flipped a parked car upside down, and landed on top. Court documents say that the property owner estimated damage to his vehicle at $10,000, and another $20,000 of damage to his residence.

“Unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it. I had to get a close up so I went over close so I could see,” Cantrell said.

Jon Bazzano with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office added: “To make it even more bizarre, the driver gets out of the vehicle and runs up on the roof.”

Dengenhardt has previously served time in the Clay County jail after pleading guilty to marijuana possession in 2014, he spent 20 days behind bars. Court records also show he pleaded guilty to distributing or producing a controlled substance in Platte County in 2015. He received 120 days in an Institutional Treatment Center (ITC) that the Missouri Department of Corrections describes as a structured program that focuses on substance abuse and relapse prevention.

Bond has been set at $100,000 for each of his pending cases in Clay County. He’s due in court for the terrorist threat on August 2, and on August 1 for allegedly fleeing from deputies, crashing in Liberty and drug possession. He has pleaded not guilty to both sets of charges.

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