By Kimberly A. Combs
Four bank robbery suspects, who allegedly conducted a robbery Wednesday, Nov. 15 in West Des Moines, Iowa, were apprehended Thursday in Wayne County. Two arrests occurred in Williamsville and two occurred in Piedmont. None of the suspects were from Iowa; two were from Louisiana, and the other two were from Texas.
Parrott said authorities were able to track and locate the suspects via GPS; the vehicle was a rental. Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E Division broadcast a stop and hold order for a maroon 2023 Hyundai Venue with Louisiana plates at about 9:22 a.m. The vehicle’s last location had been in Fredericktown.
A Highway Patrol officer was stopped on Highway 67 at Highway 34. Sgt. P. Sarkas saw a vehicle travelling southbound that matched the description of the wanted car. He was able to catch up with the vehicle and confirm that it matched the suspects’ vehicle.
He reported his findings and continued to follow the vehicle while waiting for backup. The Hyundai made a right turn on Highway A and proceeded to Williamsville.
“I activated my emergency equipment and pulled to the right shoulder,” Sgt. Sarakas wrote in the probable cause statement. “The front passenger side door immediately opened, and a black male subject took off running from the vehicle with a black bag. I ordered the driver to exit the vehicle and walked to the front of my patrol car. As the black female was walking to the front of my patrol car, the passenger side rear door opened, a black male subject exited the vehicle and jumped into the front seat. The black male then drove the Hyundai off at a high rate of speed.”
Readers from Williamsville reported watching authorities chase the suspect who first went into the small cemetery behind Korner Kwik Stop. Trooper Bryce Alcorn chased the fleeing subject and was then joined by Trooper Kelly Barnett in the foot pursuit.
“The (Hyundai) car came around the store and over to the car wash and up the hill,” explained an employee of Korner Kwik Stop. “Cops were chasing the car and they stayed circling the parking lot at the store multiple times. They had one guy in the cop car sitting the parking lot waiting for the red car to come back around, and then when the car finally came out, they took off with cops following behind.”
Readers also reported seeing a line of 13 law enforcement vehicles travelling on Route V toward Highway 34 before the crash.
The male apprehended in Williamsville was identified as Christopher J. Levergne, 21, of Opelousas, La. He faces charges in Iowa and Missouri. In Iowa, he has been charged with robbery, second degree, and theft. In Wayne County, he has been charged with possession of burglary tools and resisting/interfering with an arrest for a felony.
The female driver was identified as Deyouncey D. Dalcourt, 32, of Lafayette, La. In Iowa, she faced robbery and theft charges. In Wayne County, she has been charged with possession of burglary tools.
Trooper K. Barnett pursued the Hyundai as it left Williamsville. “Sergeant Mike Carson met the vehicle at a high rate of speed and took the lead in the pursuit,” Barnett wrote in a probable cause statement. “The vehicle turned west on (Route) V toward Piedmont. I was able to catch up with Sergeant Carson and take over the lead of the pursuit.
Sheriff Dean Finch said authorities threw spike strips on the roadway in an attempt to stop the Hyundai before it reached Piedmont. Those efforts were unsuccessful.
“During the pursuit, the vehicle traveled at speeds between 80 and 100 miles per hour,” Barnett wrote in his probable cause statement.” The driver crossed the centerline several times and drove on the wrong side of the roadway around curves.”
The pursuit turned on Highway 34 toward Piedmont. Barnett said he lowered his speed and backed away from the fleeing vehicle in an attempt to get the driver to slow down while entering town.
“I checked the vehicle’s speed at 88 miles per hour. while it approached Route HH in Piedmont,” Barnett wrote. “I was approximately a quarter mile behind the vehicle when it attempted to turn left onto Legion Park Road. The driver lost control and the vehicle struck a utility pole.”
According to Sonic workers, two people were in the vehicle when it crashed around 10:05 a.m. One person exited the vehicle from the driver’s side and one from the back seat. One of the suspects attempted to flee, according to Sonic workers.
Both were apprehended after a foot pursuit at 10:10 a.m. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and the Piedmont Police Department assisted in the pursuit and capture of the suspects.
The driver was identified as Deshaun Billy Nellums, 20, of Beaumont, Texas. He was identified by Sgt. Sarakis as the person who climbed into the driver’s seat during the traffic stop in Williamsville. The passenger was identified as T’Undra Lara-Jose Johnson, 24, of Fort Bend, Texas. Both men have been charged in Iowa with robbery and theft. In Wayne County, Nellums has been charged with resisting/interfering with an arrest for a felony and leaving the scene of an accident-property damage exceeding $1000. Johnson faces charges of resisting/interfering with an arrest for a felony.
Missouri Highway Patrol Cpl. John West inventoried the vehicle following the crash. Located in the vehicle were burglary tools and a large amount of currency suspected to have been stolen in the Iowa robbery. Sgt. Sarakas wrote in a probable cause statement that the items included pry bars, chains, chains with big hooks, and gloves. Also located in the vehicle and on the subjects was a large amount of currency, according to the probable cause statement.
All four subjects were arraigned in Wayne County Associate Circuit Court Monday morning. They are being held with no bond in the Wayne County Jail.
Clearwater School was made aware of the situation involving law enforcement. “For the safety and security of all staff and students, we entered into a lockdown procedure for a short period of time,” said a press release from the school. “There was never any direct threat to the school or to our students, this was a preventative action. The situation has since been resolved and we are no longer under lockdown. As always, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority.”