High-speed chase ends in Purdy

A high-speed chase on Thursday on Highway 37, which began south of Monett ended southwest of Purdy, has resulted in the alleged driver facing four felonies and two misdemeanors.

Ernest Naler, 34, of Monett, is charged with first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of a firearm, resisting arrest for a felony, driving while intoxicated – persistent, all felonies; as well as speeding and driving while suspended, both misdemeanors.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Trooper Tristan Royster, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at about 4:11 p.m. on Thursday, Monett Police took a report of a stolen GMC Sierra, with Naler identified as the only suspect, as the victim stated Naler was at his residence earlier in the day and stole the vehicle from there.

At about 5:01 p.m., Royster observed the vehicle traveling southbound on Highway 37 near Farm Road 2020, just south of Monett, as a high rate of speed.

‘I activated my emergency lights and siren and began to overtake the stolen vehicle,’ Royster said in his statement. ‘While overtaking it, I observed the stolen vehicle cross the center of the road and travel southbound into the northbound lane head on with northbound traffic at a high rate of speed, creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury or, death to others. I checked the vehicle’s speed at 100 miles per hour with my patrol vehicle’s mounted radar unit where the posted speed limit was 60 miles per hour.’

At 5:04 p.m., Royster said the vehicle traveled intentionally off the right side of the roadway and through a privately owned fence into a field. The vehicle intentionally struck another fence, crossed Farm Road 1075 southwest of Purdy and struck a third fence as it continued westbound into another field.

At 5:10 p.m., Royster located the vehicle abandoned in a field west of Farm Road 1075 and north of Farm Road 2020, still southwest of Purdy.

‘Naler had abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot,’ Royster said in the statement.

Royster said in the vehicle, he allegedly recovered a .45-caliber handgun on the driver’s side floorboard, some of Naler’s personal belongings in a backpack containing more .45 ammunition and a bottle of alcohol in the passenger side floorboard.

At about 6:35 p.m., Trooper Scott Walden located Naler walking near Highway 37 and Highway C, approximately one mile from where the stolen vehicle was abandoned.

‘Naler was wearing clothing matching the description [the victim] gave the Monett Police Department at the time of the motor vehicle theft,’ Royster’s statement said. ‘He was not wearing shoes and his socks were covered in burrs from walking in a field. His eyes were bloodshot and watery. His speech was thick and slurred. I detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath.’

Royster said Naler denied consuming any alcohol and refused to participate in field sobriety tests or to submit to a preliminary breath test.

‘Based on the totality of the circumstances and all my observations, I determined Naler was intoxicated and unable to operate a vehicle safely,’ Royster’s statement said.

After allegedly refusing another breath test post-Miranda, Naler was transferred to the Barry County jail. He has three prior driving while intoxicated convictions, two in Missouri and one in California.

Naler is being held in the Barry County jail on a cash-only bond of $25,000. An initial appearance has been held, and a bond hearing is set for today (Wednesday) at 9 a.m. in the courtroom of Judge Robert Foulke.