Spike strips bring end to high-speed pursuit
AREA -- A Thayer man is in the Howell County Jail in West Plains following a high speed chase by Howell County officers Nov. 29.
Mark Gitzen, 38, who was wanted on Howell County warrants for a felony probation violation linked to passing bad checks, was seen driving a vehicle by West Plains officers at 10:45 a.m.
Sheriff Robbie Crites said Gitzen was spotted by criminal investigator Shannon Caldwell on Independence Drive. Caldwell began following Gitzen who turned onto Missouri Avenue and the chase began.
Crites said Gitzen drove across Broadway Street onto Main Street and then onto Porter Wagoner Boulevard. From there Gitzen turned at the junction of Highway 14 near the West Plains city limits. Crites said by then he had notified officers with Troop G and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.
At the intersection of Highway 14 and Highway 95, Troop G officers put down spike stripes, and as Gitzen ran over them he flattened three of the four tires on the 1995 Ford Thunderbird he was driving. The fourth tire on the car was already flat. Gitzen surrendered to officers without incident.
Officers said in the Gitzen vehicle they found a working methamphetamine lab, a police scanner, a hangman's noose and gunpowder.
Crites said the officers considered Gitzen armed and dangerous at the time of the chase, but they did not find a gun in his possession.
The car Gitzen was driving reached speeds up to 110 mph during the chase Gitzem said.
Gitzen is charged with felony probation violation, and officers said other charges are expected to be filed. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Howell County Circuit Court Dec. 8.