This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 706 calls for service. 308 of these calls were initiated by an officer and 398 were calls generated by a request for service. There were: 22 arrests, 23 alarms, 8 accidents, 39 traffic complaints, 70 traffic stops, 26 disturbance (including domestics), 13 suspicious nature, 27 assists of other agencies, 10 escorts, 12 public relations contacts, 28 security checks and 38 animal control calls. This call total is down 18 calls from last week, but yet another busy week!
On Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at approximately 1:30 p.m., Animal Control Supervisor John Redshaw received a report from Central Dispatch of 2 animals struck by a train near Schuman Park and that one of the animals may still be alive. While John was investigating this call he observed what appeared to be a juvenile male running from the reported area the dogs were struck. While attempting to locate the animals, John made contact with an unidentified woman and 2 children in the area of the old locomotive at Schuman Park. The family was sitting along the bank of the tracks and John asked them if they had seen 2 animals near the tracks. The woman stated that she had not seen the animals, but a short time before John’s arrival, a white male approached her and told her there were 2 animals on the track that had been hit by a train, and that 1 of the animals was still alive. John stated that the woman told him that the male had approached her from the south and continued northbound along the tracks.
After speaking with the woman, John recalled seeing a young male running northbound from the area when he first responded to the call. John wondered if the male was involved in the incident or just happened to be running through the area. John walked south along the tracks and located the 2 animals near the intersection of 13th St. 1 of the animals had died and the 2nd animal was still alive but in bad shape. The animals were retrieved from the railroad tracks and the surviving animal was euthanized due to the severe injuries. ACS Redshaw launched an investigation into the matter as he was unsure whether the animals had attempted to cross the tracks on their own and were struck by the passing train, or were they incapacitated by someone and laid on the tracks. This concern stemmed from the position the animals were found and their injuries, compared to other cases where animals were struck by a train.
ACS Redshaw stated that while driving in the area on the incident, he observed a white van occupied by a driver and one passenger following his ACO vehicle. John noticed that the passenger in the van resembled the male he had observed earlier, running from the area where the animals were found. John tried to get the license plate number from the van but was only able to identify the first 3 characters of the plate which were described as HD7- _ _ _. John stated that the van pulled into the lot of the Phillip’s 66 Convenience store at Bishop and Cedar, where the driver of the van entered the store. John attempted to go around the block to get a better view of the van, but by time he made it around the block, the van was gone. John forwarded the information on the 2 males and the white van as possible suspect information to Central Dispatch and to the Patrol Division to assist in attempting to locate them. John also made contact with investigators with the Burlington-Northern railroad and requested that the crew on that particular train be interviewed as to what they may have seen as they passed through Rolla.
On Thursday evening, Telecommunicator Suzanne Vogeler ran the partial license number from the van through our M.U.L.E.S. computer program and was able to locate the van and also the owner’s name and address. On Friday morning, S/Sgt. Rick Williams and ACS Redshaw drove to the address and ACS Redshaw positively identified the van as the same he had seen on Tuesday. The driver and passenger in the van that day were identified, interviewed and cleared of involvement. Also on Friday, S/Sgt. Williams received a call from the investigator at Burlington-Northern. The investigator had identified the train and made contact with the engineer on the lead engine and determined that the train was a westbound coal hauler that had been re-routed through Rolla due to the heavy flooding in southeast Missouri. The engineer did recall passing through Rolla on Tuesday at approximately 12:15 p.m. and did recall striking a small dog that was running westbound between the rails of the track near the 12th Street crossing. The engineer stated that the train did strike and kill the animal. The engineer also stated that there were people in the area but that there was no one in the vicinity on railroad property when the animal was struck. We also learned that the lead engine in this incident is equipped with video cameras and that the tape for that day will be forwarded to the investigator for his viewing. Therefore this investigation concludes that the incident although unfortunate, was an accident with no foul play involved.
In closing, I would like to include an email sent to me from Pizza Inn Asst. Mgr. Terry Betz. This is normally not the content used in our Chief Chat forum, but it is such a great cause that I decided to include it. Terry writes: On Monday May 2nd Pizza Inn will host a all day buffet fundraiser with 50% of all buffet sales that day going directly to the Light family fund set up at PCB. this fundraiser is made possible through the combined efforts of James Schafer, Manager - Terry Betz Assistant Manager and local resident Tahna Collins (she is the original person that called to set this up) The reason we will be able to give this much is through the combined efforts of our employees and Ms Collins. Pizza inn will operate that evening solely on a volunteer employee basis (no employee working will receive pay) this is to lower our cost and give the maximum amount to a local family in need. All wait staff and additional volunteers will be provided by Ms Collins and volunteers she will be providing. Thank you for taking the time to repost this during your busy day. Along with our efforts KZNN had donated air time to advertise this event to the community through All their stations throughout the next week. I thank everyone in the communty in advance, and hope all will show up. Lets put Rolla on the map and take care of our own.
Have a great week!
Chief Mark Kearse