Trial starts for K.C. man accused of leading police on high-speed chase
Trial began Thursday and continues today for a Kansas City man accused of leading officials on a dangerous high-speed chase in February.
Proceedings for Robert T. Wood, 38, continue in Newton County Division I court with Judge Timothy Perigo presiding.
Wood and another man, Billy James Cushman III, 27, of Neosho were arrested Feb. 2 near Hammer and Kentucky roads in Newton County after leading authorities on a risky high-speed chase along U.S. 71 and country roads.
The charges stem from a routine traffic stop initiated by an Anderson police officer on Missouri Highway 76. Anderson Police Chief Randy Wilson told the Daily News his officer tried to pull over a pickup that was driving at night with just the parking lights on.
The driver fled, with the Anderson officer following him through town and onto the highway.
Troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol picked up the chase near Goodman, following the pickup on U.S. 71. At one point, the driver crossed the median and headed north in the southbound lanes of the highway at a high rate of speed.
The chase ended in Newton County after deputies put down spike strips near Hammer and Kentucky roads. Lt. Rick Geller of the Newton County Sheriff’s Department told the Daily News the strips deflated one of the truck’s front tires, and the truck then turned off into a field.
Both men then reportedly fled the vehicle. One was arrested in the field; the other about 30 minutes later after an officer using thermal imaging equipment spotted him under a cedar tree.
Wood was accused of four felony charges: Tampering with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest by fleeing, creating a substantial risk of serious injury or death to any person, unlawful use of drug paraphernalia and unlawful use of a weapon.
Cushman faces five felony charges in McDonald County, including three charges of second-degree assault, one count of resisting arrest for a felony, and one count of receiving $500 or more in stolen property. He also faces a misdemeanor receiving stolen property charge.
He is currently in custody in the Newton County Jail after his bond was forfeited in July. No new court dates have been set.
In April, Cushman entered an Alford plea to charges of possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. While an Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, it is an admission that the defendant believes the state has enough evidence that a conviction is likely.
A sentencing hearing has been set for Tuesday morning in Pineville.
Neosho Daily News