Missouri police chase for license plate violation ends with crash; child in SUV unhurt

A 45-year-old man is facing felony charges in Cass County stemming from a high-speed police chase that ended with a wreck as a child was inside his SUV, according to the sheriff’s office.

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Jacob Rullman, of St. Joseph, with endangerment of a child and resisting arrest by fleeing. He is accused of leading a chase Monday afternoon that exceeded 100 mph before crashing at 2 Highway and Kauffman Road.

The “small” child inside the SUV, whose age was not disclosed by authorities, was checked by emergency medical personnel at the crash site, according to the sheriff’s office. She told deputies she was unharmed and was returned to her mother Monday.

A deputy on patrol attempted to stop Rullman around 4:30 p.m. Monday in Garden City at 7 Highway and F Highway. The reason for the traffic stop was a “dirty” license plate that was without registration, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in support of the criminal charges.

The driver did not pull over, the affidavit says, and fled at speeds that reached up to 105 mph. Several motorists were passed at high speeds or pulled over to get out of the path of the pursuit.

Another deputy set up tire-deflation devices near 2 Highway and Kauffman Road. The pursuing deputy witnessed the fleeing driver swerve to avoid the device, the affidavit says, before losing control and overturning multiple times.

Rullman told deputies there was a child inside the vehicle, the affidavit says, and lifted her out through the driver’s side door. He was taken into custody.

Deputies learned Rullman had an active warrant for parole violation in a drug trafficking case. He allegedly told deputies he had absconded.

Deputies also located suspected methamphetamine in the SUV based on Rullman’s statements, according to the affidavit. It was later tested at the sheriff’s office, where a preliminary reading identified a substance in a syringe as methamphetamine.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office has a liberal policy that allows deputies to chase suspects for any reason, according to a Star investigation of area law enforcement police chase practices.

In 2022, the office recorded 54 chases, more than 10% of which resulted in a crash. Many of those chases began with minor offenses, such as license plate sticker violations.

Rullman was being held in the Cass County jail on a $200,000 cash bond. Online court records did not list a defense attorney representing him in the case Wednesday.