Trucker Hostage

Authorities survey the scene of an abandoned car that was previously driven by a woman who later held a girl and trucker hostage after being picked up by the truck driver. The woman threatened the driver with a flare gun, making him drive nearly 30 miles until he was able to escape.

A bizarre incident unfolded in the northbound lanes of Interstate 29 during the noon hour Tuesday when a truck driver looking to help a stranded motorist ended up being involved in a hostage situation.

The incident started as a St. Joseph woman lost control of her car, slid across the median and ended up in a ditch along the interstate near the 85-mile marker in Holt County. Upon seeing the car in the ditch, a semi driver saw the vehicle and stopped to see if he could help those inside.

After the woman got in the semi cab with a 6-year-old girl believed to be her daughter, she allegedly pulled a flare gun out the glove box and threatened the girl and the trucker if he did not keep driving.

“At that point, basically a hostage-type situation occurred,” said Sgt. Corey Root of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “She took her daughter — we believe it was her daughter — almost as a hostage to get the truck driver to drive her north on Interstate 29.”

The trucker drove nearly 26 miles north of the accident site into Atchison County until several law enforcement officers closed in and stopped the semi. The driver was able to leave the vehicle while the woman and girl remained inside for quite some time.

“We were able to, with the help of the Rock Port Police Department, to get that truck stopped and take the subject into custody,” Root said.

The woman was arrested and reportedly transferred to an area hospital. The child was placed in the care of the Atchison County Department of Family Services. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that she faces charges of felony assault, felony first-degree kidnapping and armed criminal action.

Root said officials still are trying to figure out why the woman threatened the girl and the trucker who stopped to help. He added the woman does not have any active warrants.

Jessika Eidson can be reached

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