MO Highway Patrolman Dies in Crash on I-44
Pacific, MO – A Missouri State Highway Patrolman died this morning (Wednesday) after his police cruiser hit the back of a semi rig on I-44 near Pacific.
Police say trooper Ralph Tatoian, 32, was responding to a search for a robbery suspect said to have shot a sheriff's deputy.
The search in Franklin County was for a man who hours earlier shot a deputy investigating a robbery in Mount Sterling in neighboring Gasconade County.
Investigators say the bullet grazed the deputy's head, and he was taken to a hospital.
Deputies chased the suspect onto U.S. Highway 50, where authorities were able to flatten one of his car's tires. The suspect then ran into a wooded area but was caught about six this morning.
The crash happened about 4:30 this morning near Pacific, west of St. Louis. The interstate was closed during the morning rush hour. Tatoian died at the scene of the crash.
Tatoian joined the patrol in January 1995 and is survived by a wife and three children. The kids range in age from 14 to 8 months.