Alleged high-speed chase, drug possession leads to arrest Stafford already on probation outside of Lawrence County, Saragusa also facing Greene Co. charge

Steve Chapman

Jesse Stafford

Emmitt Saragusa

Two people from Springfield were arrested after allegedly leading officers from the Aurora-Marionville Police Department on a high-speed chase, after which drugs were reportedly found on their person. Jesse Stafford, 28, and Emmitt Saragusa, 19, were booked into the Lawrence County Jail on Saturday, Nov. 12.
According to the probable cause statement in the case, an officer was patrolling near Church and Oak streets in Aurora on the morning of Nov. 12 when a vehicle, described as a white Honda with no license plates, drove past him. The officer reported that he attempted to initiate a stop, but the driver refused to pull over. The officer reported that the vehicle fled, reaching speeds of up to 98 miles per hour, before eventually crashing near the intersection of Elliot and Dyer.
The driver and passenger, later identified as Stafford and Saragusa, respectively, reportedly attempted to run from the vehicle towards the Aurora Inn. The reporting officer stated he placed Saragusa in handcuffs, while another officer handcuffed Stafford.
Admits to influence of methamphetamine
According to the probable cause statement, Stafford admitted to being impaired on methamphetamine, and that he had last smoked meth at around 4 a.m. that morning, but he declined to undergo a standard field sobriety test or consent to a blood draw.
In a backpack belonging to Stafford, the officer reported finding a blue rubber tourniquet and two used syringes that he said appeared to have “crystal substance residue on the inside.” Stafford also allegedly told the officer he had “meth” inside his wallet; the officer stated he checked Stafford’s wallet and found a plastic baggie with a a crystal substance that tested positive using a NARTEC sample.
Searching Saragusa, who is listed as a female, the officer saw a red zip-up sunglasses case hanging from her belt and asked her what was inside. Saragusa allegedly stated, “there was probably ‘meth’ and some drug paraphernalia. In the bag, the officer reported finding a baggie containing a crystal substance in her sunglasses case, a clear glass pipe with white residue inside and a syringe with a crystal substance inside. The officer stated the substance in the baggie tested positive using a NARTEC sample.
Both Stafford and Saragusa are charged with possessing a controlled substance and resisting arrest; Stafford faces an additional DWI charge.
Stafford also has a previous conviction in Greene County for two counts of assault, for which he was given two years of probation in June. Online court records show a warrant was issued for his arrest in October when he failed to appear for a probation violation hearing. Saragusa is currently facing charges in Greene County for resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident and vehicle tampering; those charges stem from an incident in July.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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