Two people from Columbia face a litany of charges after authorities say they fought and tried to evade law enforcement for 20 minutes on Thursday at a roadside park on Highway 5 near Bunceton in Cooper County.
Ronnie Ewens, 62, of Columbia, was charged with six felonies — two counts of resisting arrest, attempted escape from custody, aggravated DWI, third-degree assault on a special victim and second-degree assault on a special victim. Ewens was also charged with a class C misdemeanor for assaulting a police animal and a class D misdemeanor for driving while revoked or suspended.
Ewens was being held Monday afternoon in the Cooper County Jail with his bond set at $75,000 for the charges filed Friday, $10,000 for a warrant from Boone County for probation violation on a 2015 conviction for theft of a credit card and $10,000 cash only on each of two warrants from Howard County for probation violation on drug possession and domestic assault convictions.
Maria Scott, 61, of Columbia, was charged with second-degree assault on a special victim, accessory to attempted escape from custody and resisting arrest. Scott was released after posting $25,000 bond.
The most serious charge for both is the second-degree assault, which is a class B felony, punishable by 5 to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsey Nelson wrote in a probable cause statement that he saw a man drive a pickup truck into the Hannah Cole Roadside Park on Highway 5 just before 9 p.m. Thursday near Route E, just west of Bunceton. The man got out of the driver’s seat and stumbled as he walked around the truck.
When Nelson approached the car, she saw a case of Bud Light in the back seat. The man, Ewens, was sitting in the passenger seat and had watery, glassy and bloodshot eyes, according to the statement. He told Nelson his name was “Dennis Klatt.” The woman, then in the driver’s seat, identified herself as Maria Scott, 61, also of Columbia.
Nelson asked Ewens to sit in her patrol car, where he insisted his name was Dennis Klatt and said he had four Bud Lights about an hour before the stop. Nelson identified him as Ewens from a Department of Revenue photo, and saw that he had two felony probation violation warrants out of Howard County and one from Boone County, she wrote.
About eight minutes after the initial contact, Ewens opened the passenger door and started running toward the highway, stumbling and falling twice, Nelson wrote. She caught Ewens in the southbound lane of Highway 5 and they fought on the ground as she tried to get control of him, she wrote.
Scott drove the truck from the park out onto the highway. Nelson released Ewens, fearing Scott would run them over, she wrote. Ewens got in the passenger seat and told Scott to drive, but she couldn’t get the truck started. Nelson told them they were under arrest, but Scott kept trying to start the truck. Ewens said he wouldn’t get out of the truck and that he wasn’t going back to prison, Nelson wrote.
Nelson removed Scott from the driver’s seat, and Ewens moved over into the driver’s seat and continued to try to start the truck, Nelson wrote. She tried to remove Ewens from the truck, and kicked Scott away from her when she came towards the trooper and started being “verbally aggressive,” Nelson wrote.
Cooper County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Schanzmeyer arrived on the scene after about 11 minutes of Nelson trying to remove Ewens from the truck, she wrote. Schanzmeyer saw Ewens fighting with Nelson when he arrived, he wrote in a probable cause statement. The deputy told Ewens to step out of the truck, but he closed the door and continued trying to start it, Schanzmeyer wrote.
Schanzmeyer released his service dog, Grimm, and directed it to bite Ewens because he had assaulted Nelson and was actively trying to escape custody, he wrote. Ewens pushed and kicked the dog away, so Schanzmeyer started trying to remove Ewens himself.
Ewens started swinging his hands and arms at Schanzmeyer, so the deputy struck him in the face with a closed fist for “pain compliance,” he wrote. Ewens continued to swing, so Schanzmeyer shocked Ewens twice with his taser before he was finally able to remove him from the truck.
A representative of the Missouri State Highway Patrol did not respond to a request for more information.