Six injured after suspect hits police cars, crashes during pursuit of stolen vehicle in Bridgeton, Mo.

Six people, including two officers, were injured Wednesday night following a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Bridgeton.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:56 AM CDT
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BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOV) - Six people, including two officers, were injured Thursday night following a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Bridgeton.

Officers were dispatched to Walmart at 11900 St. Charles Rock Road around 9:45 p.m. Thursday for a report of a stolen vehicle. The two officers who responded were able to find the car and stop it in the 3700 block of Fee Fee Road. Police say the suspect vehicle suddenly rammed two police cars and one officer shot at the suspect, missing him. The suspect then fled the scene while officers began to pursue.

Eventually, the suspect was involved in a crash with two other vehicles at the intersection of Whitehall Manor and N. Lindbergh Boulevard. The crash ended the pursuit, and the suspect was taken into custody. Two officers received minor injuries and were treated and released from an area hospital. Four people in the two vehicles from the crash were taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Thursday morning, The Bridgeton Police Department announced that Daniel L. Kepler was charged with second-degree assault special victim, first-degree tampering, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest.

Daniel L. Kepler is facing multiple charges connected to a police chase and crash in Bridgeton...
Daniel L. Kepler is facing multiple charges connected to a police chase and crash in Bridgeton on June 7, 2023.(Bridgeton Police Department)

It marks yet another police pursuit in the St. Louis Metro that ended with injuries to other people.

“I can tell you police pursuits, they’re dangerous, but, unfortunately, they’re a necessary evil. We’re not going to engage in a police pursuit unless those parameters are met,” said Major Ron Martin, Assistant Chief of Police with the North County Police Cooperative. “If it’s a violent felonious act, where the apprehension of that individual is necessary, we’re going to go ahead and pursue.”

Major Martin says the North County Police Cooperative did assist with managing traffic during this incident in Bridgeton. For his department, the number of police pursuits is not as high as people might think.

“The year 2022, we handled about 21,000 calls for police service. Of those 21,000 calls for police service, we were involved or initiated a pursuit 20 times, only 20 times,” said Martin.

Half of those 20 pursuits were ultimately stopped out of concern for safety, and only two pursuits resulted in injuries. In 2021, only 15 calls out of 29,207 were police pursuits.

A majority of those pursuits were initiated following a felony assault on a law enforcement officer, followed by shootings, burglaries, vehicle carjacking and homicide.

Yet, Martin says they are always looking at ways to improve their numbers.

“There are a lot of things out there that we can look at, there are devices that can change traffic signals to all reds,” said Martin. “We are looking all that as an agency to get those deployed and I think that would help out dramatically. There’s also equipment, I believe its called star chase, where a dart is shot onto the license plate from a car and it’s a GPS tracking device, where after a dart is shot on the officer doesn’t have to pursue.”