Driver to stand trial on felony assault counts

Jeff Lehr, The Joplin Globe, Mo.
·1 min read

Apr. 19—A driver who Joplin police say sped off from them and crashed into another vehicle seriously injuring three of his own passengers has been ordered to stand trial on felony assault charges.

Donny R. Cook, 26, of Joplin, waived a preliminary hearing Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court and is to be tried on three counts of second-degree assault, a single count of resisting arrest and two misdemeanor counts of assault.

Those charges pertain to a vehicle pursuit Sept. 22 that ended with the car the defendant was driving running into a truck at Seventh Street and Illinois Avenue.

Three occupants of Cook's vehicle — Robert Shelton, Leanne Doyle and George Salzman — were seriously injured in the collision. Two occupants of the truck, Travis Dickerson and Ryan Patterson, sustained minor injuries.

A probable-cause affidavit filed with the charges states that Cook appeared to be under the influence of drugs to the arresting officer in the aftermath of the crash. The document alleges that he sped off when the officer tried to pull him over for various traffic violations, running stop signs and traffic lights and reaching speeds as high as 75 mph before colliding with the truck.

Cook also waived a hearing on separate charges of felony tampering with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and driving while intoxicated from a similar incident Dec. 17 in Joplin when he purportedly would not stop for an officer and drove recklessly away, speeding and running through a stop sign and up onto a sidewalk.

Associate Judge Joe Hensley set May 3 for Cook's initial appearance in a trial division on both cases.