Man arrested after chase in Exeter

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Driver allegedly struck multiple vehicles, caused damage to cruiser

Details of the chase on April 27 that led to the Exeter Police Department’s 2009 Dodge Charger sustaining damage are clearer now with the arrest of a Stella man allegedly behind the wheel of the fleeing vehicle.

David Grippando, 29, of Stella, is charged with first-degree assault following an alleged chase where multiple vehicles were damaged.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Kenen Martinez, Exeter police chief, a traffic stop was made at Washburn Street and Highway 76 in Exeter, with three occupants in the vehicle. One occupant, Jeffery Sharp, had a felony warrant in Carroll County, Ark. While Martinez was checking on the warrant, Sharp allegedly fled on foot, and beginning to give chase, Martinez saw Grippando moved into the driver seat of the vehicle and begin to leave the scene.

Martinez went back to his patrol vehicle and pursued Grippando, which allegedly ran stop signs and run two vehicle off the roadway, one of which had a child inside.

Grippando then allegedly attempted to brake check Martinez’s vehicle before turning onto Farm Road 1045. The chase continued and Grippando allegedly struck a vehicle at the intersection of Farm Roads 1045 and 2190 after running a stop sign turning eastbound. On Farm Road 2190, Grippando again allegedly attempted to hit Martinez’s vehicle with the trailer being towed behind his Ford Explorer.

Turning onto Highway 76, Grippando allegedly barely avoided striking another vehicle, then drove straight at Wheaton Police Chief Clinton Danforth and Officer Casey Baker, forcing them to take evasive action.

At that time, Martinez attempted to end the pursuit by using his push bumper against the back driver side tires of Grippando’s vehicle. His cruiser was struck by the trailer and Grippando’s vehicle was forced off the roadway. Grippando then allegedly fled on foot.

A further check revealed Grippando’s license was suspended at the time of the pursuit.

Grippando was arrested on Friday and is being held in the Barry County jail on a cash-only bond of $50,000. He has been arraigned, and a disposition hearing is set for May 22 in the courtroom of Judge Robert Foulke.

Following the incident, Martinez put out a statement addressing the damage.

“Because of the damage to city property, the police department felt it important and in the public interest to release this information to be completely transparent,” Martinez said. “There is no threat to the Exeter Community and driver of the vehicle is known. A probable cause statement will be filed against Mr. Sharp and against the passenger. Additionally due to use of force during this pursuit, a request for a review of the use of force will be submitted to an outside independent agency.”

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