Woman tries to steal state trooper’s car

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Near MONTROSE, Mo. -- A woman is in the Henry County jail after stealing a state trooper's patrol car and then trying to run down two law enforcement officers.

A sheriff's deputy fired several shots to stop 24-year-old Joeanne Marie West, of Kansas City, from running him down. Deputies say they're counting their blessings.

"It was a very intense, very scary few moments for the officers that were on scene," said Maj. Rob Hills of the Henry County Sheriff's office.

Luckily, no one was hurt in this scary incident. West may face charges of assault on a law enforcement officer and stealing a motor vehicle.

It started just before noon Saturday when a 911 caller reported a pick-up truck broken down near the Montrose Conservation Area. A man and woman inside reportedly were acting strangely. A deputy soon learned the truck had been reported stolen from Liberty, with license plates stolen from Independence.

Anthony Petalino, 46, of Montrose, was wanted on unrelated charges. As the deputy took Petalino into custody, a state trooper arrived to arrest West. But even though the trooper handcuffed her, deputies say she slipped the cuffs around her body and took control of the trooper's car.

"Once she took the vehicle, she struck our patrol car, and then made driving motions toward our officers coming at them with the stolen patrol car," Hills explained. "They shot at the vehicle multiple times."

No one was hit by the gunshots, but the trooper's car got stuck in a ditch a short distance away. Officers re-arrested West, making sure she wouldn't get away this time. Investigators say she has not been cooperative and they suspect she's under the influence of methamphetamine. Hills said West posed a danger to anyone around her.

"Whether it's our officers or whether it's the general public driving by, that's an open roadway," Hills said. "Families travel that every day of the week. Just north of that is a bridge where a lot of families and children go fishing on a daily basis. We were very fortunate."

The state patrol's Division of Drug And Crime Control is investigating the incident. Both West and Petalino are being held on no bond parole absconder warrants. West has a previous robbery conviction. Petalino has a burglary conviction.

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