Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

May 22, 2013

50-year-old man leads several agencies on chase

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Marion County — In following up on a story we broke on our Facebook page last night, a 50-year-old man is sitting in the Wayne County Jail facing multiple charges in that county, as well as Marion. 

Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt told the Journal-Express this morning that the Pleasantville Police Department attempted to pull over a gray Chrysler driven by Melvin Leroy Collis, 50, of Centerville, for a traffic violation around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. The driver, who does not have a valid driver's license, and allegedly had marijuana in the car, refused to pull over. 

The Pleasantville officer pursued the vehicle. The chase went down Highway 5 and continued on S-45 toward Melcher-Dallas. At that point, the Melcher-Dallas Police became involved in the chase. The pursuit went through Melcher-Dallas and onto G-76 and onto Highway 14. By this time, a Marion County deputy and Sandholdt joined the pursuit. 

The chase went on into Lucas County, then Wayne County. Their respective sheriff's departments became involved as well. Collis allegedly went into Missouri, before coming back into Iowa. 

Sandholdt credits two Knoxville pilots, who were in the air during the pursuit. The pilots assisted law enforcement in tracking the suspect vehicle and maintain safety. 

Most of the time, law enforcement discourages public involvement in police matters. However, Sandholdt said of the pilots, "I was thankful they decided to get involved." 

Pursuit ended when the suspect vehicle was forced into a ditch in Jackson Township in Wayne County around 9:30 p.m., according to Kyle Ocker with the Centerville Daily Iowegian. Collis was booked into the Wayne County Jail and the investigation is ongoing. 

"That's probably one of the longest chases I've ever been in on," Sandholdt said.

Sandholdt said no one was injured during the pursuit. Vehicles involved in the chase were reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. The Pleasantville officer reported to dispatch that he watched Collis throw marijuana out of the car, early in the chase. 

Collis is being charged in Marion County with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, multiple counts of speeding, eluding and driving while suspended. More charges could be filed. Wayne County is also pressing charges. 

We'll bring you more information as it becomes available.