Man on the run in Ralls County - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Man on the run in Ralls County

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RALLS COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) -

The Ralls County Sheriff's Office said it has scaled back the search for a man on the run after a Thursday night pursuit and crash involving a squad car.
 
Marion County 911 Dispatch - which dispatches for Ralls County -  said that crews were not actively looking for 29-year-old Jeremiah Preston Friday.
 
Preston has active warrants on six charges, all from July in Marion County, according to the Circuit Clerk's Office. He was supposed to appear in July on all charges in one appearance, but failed to appear in court.
 
  • Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident
  • Operating a motor vehicle resulting in an accident
  • No insurance
  • Sold a vehicle/trailer without owner certificate
  • Failure to register a motor vehicle
  • Displayed plates of another vehicle
 
Deputies said the chase started Thursday morning when Hannibal police tried to serve Preston an arrest warrant. Officers said Preston ran and they followed. Police said that led to a car chase as Preston drove into Ralls County, where an all-out manhunt began late Thursday afternoon.
 
The chase lead police through two counties. During the pursuit, deputies said Preston wrecked with a squad car, sending one deputy to the hospital. Deputies said Preston then got out and ran into a heavily-wooded area, which prompted a manhunt in the area.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Brent Bernhardt said troopers helped canvas the area down Route F just past Salem Road and sent a search helicopter to help deputies look for Preston.

Deputies said they chased the fugitive through fields, and into the woods.  Deputies said Preston crashed a truck on Leslie Cornelius's property. 

"I can't believe the truck is where it's at.  I don't even take a four-wheeler where this truck's at," Cornelius said. "I don't know how he got there.  We'll probably be sleeping a little more light but we have police around the area so I'm not too worried about it."

When Larry Cornelius got to his home on Route F, he said it was surprising.

"There were several patrol cars in my driveway when I got home," Cornelius said. "They wrecked just about 200 yards away from the house. They got cars everywhere and dogs sniffing."

As helicopters flew overhead, neighbors said they didn't know what was going on.

"They just keep flying around up there. They're going east and west, east and west," Ralls County Resident Elva Light said. "My husband was bow hunting and he came home."

Light didn't waste anytime protecting herself.  

"I kind of got a little more spooked and  actually went and got the shotgun and loaded the shotgun and locked up the house," said Light.
 
Preston was last seen wearing a light blue long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans.  Deputies said he could be injured.  The search for Preston between New London and Center was called off at dark, but deputies asked that residents call 911 if they see anything suspicious.

Light and her husband said they didn't expect to get much sleep Thursday night.

"We'll lock up the house and like I said I'm not sure how well we'll sleep tonight but we'll do the best we can," Light said. 

Ralls County Chief Deputy Ronald Haught said he wasn't sure if Preston is dangerous.
 
"It's tough to say. You know when individuals are on the run like this they could be dangerous," Haught said. "I don't believe he has been dangerous in the past other than his eluding of law enforcement."

Haught said he didn't know the extent of the injuries to the deputy that got in the wreck with Preston, but he said his concern is with internal and head injuries.
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