Franklin County deputies were involved for a short time in a pursuit into St. Louis County of a kidnapping suspect Tuesday night.
According to Sheriff Steve Pelton, the pursuit — which ultimately resulted in two deaths — began east of Union on Highway 50.
He explained a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper attempted to stop the driver, Leslie K. Austin, 39, Jefferson City, who had kidnapped his girlfriend and their child for a registration violation.
The trooper ended the pursuit shortly before law enforcement officers were given details of the kidnapping and a description of the vehicle Austin was driving.
Pelton said a deputy noticed the car moments after the description was sent after 9 p.m.
The Associated Press reported that Austin is accused of kidnapping his girlfriend and their 10-year-old daughter then killing a man during an attempted carjacking and was shot to death following a police chase through Missouri and Illinois.
“There were no shots fired at our deputies,” added Pelton.
St. Louis County police joined the pursuit on Interstate 44 in Franklin County. The suspect sped down I-44 into downtown St. Louis and then went across the Poplar Street Bridge into Illinois around 9:35 p.m., according to reports.
“We backed off at (Interstate) 270 and turned it over to the state,” Pelton noted.
The AP reported the chase began Tuesday evening in Jefferson City and ended about three hours later in Greenville, Ill., after sheriff’s deputies used stop sticks to deflate the tires on Leslie Austin’s SUV, allowing the girlfriend and child to escape. Authorities said Austin, 39, fired multiple shots during and after the chase.
Austin’s 33-year-old girlfriend, Danielle Smith, was shot and wounded several times, and has been hospitalized in critical condition, Illinois State Police said in a news release. The daughter wasn’t hurt.
Jefferson City police Lt. David Williams said the girlfriend had a restraining order against Austin, according to the AP.
Authorities pursued him until he drove across a bridge into Illinois, where Illinois State Police Troopers took up the chase.
According to reports, about 10:30 p.m., Bond County, Ill., sheriff’s deputies deployed the stop sticks on Illinois 140 near Greenville, and the girlfriend and child were able to escape the slowing SUV, Illinois State Police said in a news release.
Austin then tried to carjack a vehicle from Gregory Price, shooting and killing the 67-year-old man from Florissant, the AP reported.
Austin apparently decided against taking Price’s car and failed in an attempt to carjack a second vehicle, choosing instead to continue on in his damaged SUV, state police said.
He eventually stopped the vehicle and was shot and killed in a shootout.
Austin had convictions in Missouri for misdemeanor theft, domestic assault, tampering with a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.