A foot and vehicle chase that started in St. Clair Wednesday morning ended at the Interstate 44 mile marker 251 Washington exit without incident.
According to the St. Clair Police report, at about 10 a.m. local officers received information from an anonymous source that 33-year-old Eric Gildehaus of Franklin County, who had active misdemeanor warrants for his arrest, was inside the NAPA Auto Parts store, 910 Plaza Drive.
An officer arrived at the scene, and while he was parked near the front of the business waiting for an additional officer for backup, he observed Gildehaus running from the back door of the store. The officer also observed that an off-duty Washington police officer, who had been inside the NAPA store at the time and was attempting to arrest Gildehaus, was chasing him.
It was not known why the Washington officer was in St. Clair, how he knew Gildehaus or why he attempted to make an arrest outside his jurisdiction.
Gildehaus continued to run, with St. Clair police now in foot pursuit, and he entered the back door of the St. Clair Dollar General Store, 10 Paul Parks Drive, located west of the NAPA store.
Gildehaus then left that store through its front door and fled north toward Budget Lodging, 866 South Service Road, where he entered a white Chevrolet Camaro parked near the motel. The vehicle, driven by a 31-year-old female associate of Gildehaus, sped away and headed east on Interstate 44.
A St. Clair officer pursued the vehicle in his patrol car until the Camaro exited at the Highway AH mile marker 242 exit. The vehicle continued east on the South Service Road.
The local officer ended his pursuit at the St. Clair city limits because the warrants were misdemeanors, St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack said.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office picked up the pursuit at the I-44 mile marker 246 exit near Union, Sgt. Steve Pelton told The Missourian. He said two county vehicles chased the Camaro eastbound with speeds at times reaching about 90 mph.
As the chase continued, another police car was stationed at the top of the Washington 251 exit.
“They got off there,” Pelton said. “They pulled over, and the man got out and laid on the ground.”
Gildehaus was arrested and taken to the sheriff’s office at that time.
“It looked to us like he had planned on giving up at that point,” Pelton said. “He was arrested without incident.”
The woman driving the Camaro put her hands in the air while inside the car.
No road spikes were needed, but Pelton said if the chase would have continued, spikes could have been used.