Man charged with 5th DWI after leading police on high-speed chase

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 10:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 9:44 AM

PINE LAWN, Mo (KMOV.com) -- A Florissant man, who got out of prison early for abandoning a corpse, is back behind bars.  This time he’s accused of drunk driving.

Paul Tripp has been out of prison for four months.  He pleaded guilty to dumping Valerie Butler’s body in a field after she overdosed on heroin in 2011. He’s on parole for the case involving Butler and for a previous drug case. 

Pine Lawn police were set up for a DWI patrol along Interstate 70 Thursday morning when they say Tripp sped by them doing 81 mph in a 55 mph zone.  Police say Tripp pulled over, but when police approached sped from the traffic stop. 

Officers say he led police on a chase spanning more than 20 miles and reaching speeds of up to 130 miles per hour.  Tripp ran out of road and drove into a soybean field in St. Charles.

Police say Tripp fought them when they finally caught up with him, so they tasered him twice.

“We have a zero tolerance policy, and we’re not going to let any drunk driver just flee the police,” Pine Lawn Police Commander Steven Blakeney said.

This is another example of convicted felon getting out of prison early, only to quickly be accused of committing another crime.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” Vickie Butler, Valerie Butler’s mother, said.  “I don’t think he should have been allowed out as soon as he has been out.”

“The failure, in my opinion, is with the courts,” Vernon Butler, Valerie’s father, said.  “They’re not putting these people away. They get out and they do this time and time again.”

Police say this is Tripp’s fifth DWI arrest.  He also got out of prison early on a five-year sentence in a 2010 drug case.

“The gentleman’s been very fortunate it seems like in getting breaks and getting second, third and fourth chances,” Commander Blakeney said.  “But I think this is the end of the road for this guy.”

Tripp is jailed on a $40,000 bond, but police hope the courts revoke his parole before he can be set free again.

Valerie Butler’s family has created an online petition for “Valerie’s Law,” asking lawmakers to strengthen penalties for drug dealers—especially those who sell a deadly dose.

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