Suspect at large after deadly Franklin County wreck has criminal past

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 3 at 7:00 AM

(KMOV) – Police are still searching for convicted rapist who escaped from the hospital moments after he was allegedly involved in a car wreck that killed two people.

According to reports, Joshua McFerrin, 36 is an alleged drug dealer, convicted rapist and most recently charged with manslaughter after a deadly collision on Highway 100 at Highway M around 7 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities say McFerrin was driving a Dodge Stratus westbound when he failed to stop at a traffic signal and turned into a path of a Ford Fusion.

The two backseat passengers in the Stratus died. They are identified as Tarlton M. Stephens, 46, and Mitchell R. Mantels, 56; both of Villa Ridge, Mo.  A front seat passenger, 30-year-old Shanna M. WIlken of St. Clair, was hospitalized in serious condition.

News 4’s Lindsay Bramson talked with a woman who was another victim of McFerrin’s dangerous driving after he slammed into the back of her vehicle moments before fatally hitting the Stratus.

The unidentified woman said “it can’t continue, people are dying and they have to put him away forever,” after Bramson shared McFerrin’s long, extensive criminal history with her.

On Saturday, McFerrin was taken to Mercy Hospital in Franklin County and was under investigation for suspicion of drunken driving. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says he ran away from the emergency room less than fifteen minutes after he arrived.

A spokesperson for Mercy Hospital told News 4’s Lindsay Bramson it is law enforcement’s responsibility to make sure things like this don’t happen.

“It’s our policy to provide the most appropriate, compassionate medical care to each and every patient we serve," the hospital said in a statement.

Troopers told Bramson they were not aware of McFerrin’s criminal history until after he escaped from Mercy.  They also said that it is their number one priority to get anyone injured, known criminal or not, medical care.

Joshua McFerrin is still on the run. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri Highway Patrol or the Washington Police Department.

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