Fleeing fugitive prompts lockdowns for area schools

Columbia Public School officials locked down their entire district as a precaution for less than an hour.

A high-speed chase through central Missouri forced a lockdown of the Columbia Public School District and Montgomery City Elementary School Tuesday.

Highway patrol officials said their pursuit started in Warren County at about 9:30 a.m. and ended in Shelby County at about noon where authorities captured 30-year-old Daremiah Gibson of Wright City.

Gibson was wanted on felony charges when troopers spotted his car. Authorities said Gibson eluded troopers two weeks ago in another vehicle pursuit.

Gibson told authorities he wanted to see his children before he went to jail, which forced the lockdown of Montgomery City Elementary School.

At first, a woman and a child were traveling with Gibson so troopers only used a helicopter to follow his car on Interstate 70. Gibson eventually pulled over and let the woman and child out.

Thatâ??s when troopers resumed their chase in squad cars. Police unsuccessfully used spike strips to slow Gibson down when he entered Columbiaâ??s city limits.

Gibson also made an unthreatening phone call to his estranged wife at Columbiaâ??s Delmar Cobble State School.

Columbia police officer Latisha Stroer said, â??We asked the schools to place schools on lock down near Delmar Coble for precautionary measures.â??

Delmar Cobble was locked down. Columbia Public School officials locked down their entire district as a precaution for less than an hour. Most Columbia schools where placed in a modified lockdown, which means all doors were locked and no one entered or exited buildings.

Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said, â??Anytime you have a situation that happens within a certain time or proximity with something tragic like what happened in Connecticut, it certainly makes people more aware and more concerned.â??

The pursuit continued on Highway 63 through Randolph, Macon and Shelby counties. Gibson's vehicle eventually ran out of gas, so he surrendered.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Darrin Haslag said, â??There was assistance in shutting down intersections and keeping traffic off the roads the subject was on. As far as I know, we handled procedure perfectly.â??

Authorities said the only time the public was in any real danger was during the car chase as Gibson drove by motorists. He did not have any weapons.

Gibson is being held in the Shelby County Jail on multiple charges.