A man in medical custody for possession of marijuana and methamphetamines removed his IV tubes as he attempted to escape, exposing officers attempting to restrain him to infected blood and drawing a new charge of assault.
Dereck Onkle, 35, of St. Louis faces six felony charges from three incidents over five days in Cooper County: two counts of drug possession, and charges for forgery, escape from custody, resisting arrest and second-degree assault for exposing officers to his blood that is infected with Hepatitis C, which can cause liver damage.
Onkle carried a chainsaw and red bag as he walked along the shoulder of westbound Interstate 70 near Ashley Road around 10:40 p.m. on Aug. 9. Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsey Nelson was called to check on him, the trooper wrote in a probable cause statement.
Onkle was wanted on a felony warrant for stealing a motor vehicle in Dent County, and three other misdemeanor warrants. Nelson arrested Onkle, who told Nelson the bag contained marijuana that he had recently purchased at the McDonalds at the Main Street exit, the trooper wrote.
Nelson found about 1.75 pounds of marijuana that Onkle said was of low-quality, and he intended to sell it either in St. Louis or Kansas City, Nelson wrote. Nelson also found 20 fake $100 bills, which Onkle said he bought for $1 on Wish.com and planned to sell two bills to a friend for $50 a piece, Nelson wrote.
Onkle told Nelson he should’ve stolen a vehicle instead of walking. He would have burned it to destroy the evidence and wouldn’t have been caught, he reportedly told Nelson. Onkle was booked into the Cooper County jail, then taken for treatment the next day at Pinnacle Regional Hospital for unspecified reasons.
Cooper County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Chenault was called Aug. 11 to the hospital after a plastic ball containing methamphetamine was found in Onkles’ anus, the deputy wrote in a probable cause statement. Onkle hid the ball from officers when he was arrested, and had kept it hidden overnight at the county jail, Chenault wrote.
Two days later, still in the hospital and in custody, Onkle, who has Hepatitis C, loosened a clip on his IV and started bleeding, according to a probable cause statement written by Cooper County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Schanzmeyer. Onkle ran out of the room and into the hallway, where officers restrained him.
Eighteenth Circuit Judge Keith Bail scheduled a counsel status hearing for Tuesday. Onkle is being held in the Cooper County jail with a total bond of $90,500.
The assault charge is the most serious offense, a class B felony with a possible sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison. The possession and forgery charges are class D felonies, with possible sentences of up to 7 years in prison. Resisting arrest is a class E felony, with a possible sentence of up to 4 years in prison if Onkle is convicted.