Suspect in Fatal Crash Held in County Jail - The Missourian: Local News

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Suspect in Fatal Crash Held in County Jail

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 3:00 pm

A Franklin County man charged in a fatal car crash is in custody in the Franklin County Jail.

Deputies transferred Joshua McFerrin, 36, St. Clair, Sunday from the Phelps County Jail where he had been held since Thursday, July 4, almost five days after he fled from police.

Currently, McFerrin is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal crash Saturday evening, June 29, at Highway 100 and Route M near Villa Ridge.

However, he is expected to face additional charges in the future.

Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks said since two people died in the crash, McFerrin could be charged with a higher class felony which could result in a longer jail sentence.

He also may be charged with several counts of second-degree assault and armed criminal action, among other things.

McFerrin was driving a car westbound on Highway 100 which collided with an eastbound car shortly before 7 p.m. June 29, authorities allege.

Two passengers — Mitchell Mantels, 56, Villa Ridge, and Tarlton Stephens, 46, St. Clair  — in the McFerrin car died in the crash. Another passenger, Shanna Wilken, 30, St. Clair, was seriously injured. She was transported by air ambulance to Mercy Hospital St. Louis.

Two people in the eastbound car, Jo E. Knipe, 60, Robertsville, and a passenger, Kenneth Knipe, 61, Robertsville, were injured and were taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital Washington for treatment.

McFerrin also was taken to Mercy Hospital Washington, but he walked out of the emergency room before officials could take a blood sample to test his intoxication level. The suspect fled into a wooded area along the riverfront trail and managed to elude police until his arrest Thursday in Phelps County.

Since his escape, Missouri Highway Patrol troopers had been following up leads and obtained information that McFerrin was sighted at various locations, but the suspect managed to keep one step ahead of officers.

That is until last Thursday when troopers received a tip that McFerrin was a passenger in a car that had left Salem and was heading toward St. James. A trooper stationed just outside the St. James city limits stopped the car, which had license plates registered to a different vehicle. McFerrin then surrendered to the trooper without incident, according to reports.

McFerrin has a lengthy criminal history that includes past convictions for statutory rape, second-degree assault, auto theft, resisting arrest and drug trafficking.

He was sentenced to concurrent prison terms totaling 10 years after pleading guilty to charges of assaulting law enforcement officers and resisting arrest by fleeing, causing a risk of death or injury, according to court documents.

In February 2011, McFerrin pleaded guilty to assaulting a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest and was ordered to serve three years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, according to online court records.

Sheriff Gary Toelke said McFerrin had been in the county jail on traffic charges but was released a few days prior to the fatal crash.

/local_news

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