Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

May 23, 2013

Pursuit that began in Marion County ends in Wayne County

By Kyle Ocker The Daily Iowegian
The Daily Iowegian

---- — CORYDON — A pursuit that began in Marion County Tuesday evening ended in Wayne County Tuesday night.

The two-hour, high speed chase that went through several counties, with an alleged short stint in Missouri as well, involved several agencies with at least two patrol cars damaged in the pursuit. Among the agencies involved were the Marion County Sherfif's Office, Iowa State Patrol, Appanoose County Sheriff's Office, Lucas County Sheriff's Office and Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said Melvin Leroy Collis, 50, of Centerville, was the suspect apprehended in Wayne County after the chase. A Pleasantville police officer attempted to pull him over in Pleasantville for a traffic violation. Collis refused to pull over and led authorities on a nearly two hour chase through southern Iowa.

The Pleasantville police officer reported the suspect threw marijuana from the vehicle after failing to yield.

Sandholdt credited two Knoxville pilots who followed the vehicle in the pursuit from beginning to end, communicating with law enforcement on his location when ground units couldn't keep up on the several highways and gravel roads Collis led pursuing officers on at speeds over 100 mph.

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 in Marion and in the counties Collis fled through.

Wayne County Sheriff Keith Davis said Collis has been charged in Wayne County with "multiple charges related to the pursuit, including driving without headlights." Davis says the pursuit was called off at one point, until a Wayne County Deputy Sheriff came across a vehicle driving at high speeds without their headlights on.

The pursuit ended when Collis' vehicle entered a roadside ditch and was apprehended by law enforcement.

Scanner traffic indicated the pursuit ended approximately seven miles from Corydon after 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Davis said the city of Seymour's car was damaged after hitting a deer. A Wayne County Sheriff's Chevrolet Tahoe patrol car sustained slight damage when encountering the suspect to end the pursuit.

Collis has a long criminal history in Iowa. He's been convicted of felony controlled substance violation, felony anhydrous ammonia possession and felony possession of lithium. He also has two escape charges on his record, from Des Moines county in 2001 and Wapello county in 2007.

Steve Woodhouse from the Knoxville Journal-Express contributed to this report.