A Missouri trooper has received the state’s highest public service award for taking courageous action during a 2018 chase on foot with an alleged thief.
On March 19, 2018, a man and woman suspected in a residential theft in northern Missouri’s Ridgeway had just bolted from the crime scene. Trooper Matthew Neely spotted the suspected vehicle southbound on Interstate 35. Before he could attempt to pull over the vehicle, the driver got off the interstate and slammed into a utility pole.
As Neely arrived on scene, the driver and passenger exited the vehicle and the driver ran off. Neely informed the passenger she was under arrest and ordered her to stay in the vehicle. Then, as Neely went after the driver on foot across an open field, the man turned and fired multiple shots at Neely.
The trooper attempted to take cover as best he could. Once the gun fire stopped, Neely reported that shots had been fired and advanced on the gunman while commanding him to drop his weapon.
The gunman then attempted to re-engage trooper Neely. The trooper fired several shots – striking the gunman twice and ending the gun battle.
Neely and another trooper gave the suspect first aid until medical help arrived. The gunman survived.
During a ceremony this week, Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten and Gov. Mike Parson awarded Neely with the state’s highest public safety award – the Medal of Valor.
Neely was one of 18 first responders and six civilians honored this week for their heroic efforts to protect the public in 2018.
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