Eastern MO man's police chase ends when he drives off Osage Beach cliff

Darrell Matlock

A man from Warrenton is hospitalized after he leads Mid-Missouri police on a 50-mile chase that ends when he drives off a cliff.

Darrel Matlock, 33, had allegedly driven away from a Fulton gas station last night, not paying for gas.

Holts Summit officers spotted him and began a pursuit along Highway-54.  The Missouri State Highway Patrol took over the pursuit in southern Cole County where spike strips were deployed in Eldon.  Highway Patrol Sergeant Scott White explains what happened next.

"The truck continued along 54 Highway toward Osage Beach, losing tires along the way.  And at some point, in Osage Beach, the truck left the roadway and eventually went over an 80-foot cliff.  We don't know if that was intentional or accidental.  But the man fled the scene and our helicopter was called."

White says Matlock was eventually located by the helicopter, hiding behind a residence near the cliff.  He was transported to Lake Regional where he remains being treated for moderate injuries. 

White says that although people driving away without paying for gas sounds like a rather low-profile crime, they can actually be kind of terrifying calls for law enforcement. 

"We have a trooper who lost his life when he tried to stop a guy for not paying for fuel and ended up getting in a shoot out with him.  So it always seems like when people don't pay for gas, there's always something more there and in this case, there apparently was." 

Matlock is facing a slew of charges, including driving a stolen truck and driving while intoxicated.