Stolen minivan T-boned by Joplin school bus; Joplin Police have suspect driver now in custody

Joplin News First

Donny Cook, 25, arrested by Joplin Police; There were two children on the bus however no injuries, parents picked them up at the scene

UPDATE: The Joplin Police Department shortly after 1:00 PM Wednesday with information they have a suspect in custody regarding the bus crash.

“The driver of the stolen vehicle had fled upon officer’s arrival on foot and was later located. Donny Cook, 25 years old of Joplin, MO was taken into custody. Cook has been arrested and charges forwarded for Tampering 1st degree, Endangering the welfare of a child 2nd degree, Leaving scene of a motor vehicle accident, and Resisting arrest.”

Capt Nick Jimenez, Joplin Police Department

ORIGINAL STORY: JOPLIN, Mo. — Crash occurred this morning around 6:40 AM near the intersection of Deer Drive and Coyote Drive on the edge of the Joplin city limits. Traffic was not cleared to move until 8:15 AM. The area was processed as a crime scene as the occupant(s) of the stolen minivan fled on foot.

Sgt Thomas Bowen of the Joplin Police Department tells us exclusively that earlier this morning a 2011 maroon minivan was reported stolen in Joplin. The owner had the vehicle warming up and running at the curb of their residence. Stolen van was immediately reported.

Officers located the van near 32nd and Schifferdecker. They did not pursue it [lights and sirens]. It traveled south on Coyote. As officers approached Love’s traveling south on Coyote they came upon the crash.

Vehicle will be processed for evidence and fingerprinted. There were items left behind in the vehicle as person(s) fled.

Sgt Thomas Bowen, Joplin Police Department

Two children were on the bus. No one was injured. Parents picked up the children at the scene. Joplin Schools released a statement regarding the crash at our request. “At approximately 6:39 AM this morning on Coyote Drive near I-44 a bus was hit by another vehicle. According to authorities, the driver of a stolen mini-van lost control, crossed the center line, and hit the front of the bus.  Officers on the scene said the bus driver was not at fault.  There were two students on the bus at the time of the incident but no one on the bus was injured.  The bus driver was given a drug and alcohol screening, which is standard practice, and the results of the screening came back negative.” Justin Crawford, Joplin R-8

(UPDATED, SUBJECT IN CUSTODY) Sgt Bowen tells us that the occupant(s) of the minivan fled on foot. It’s not known if there are one or two persons. They are searching the area and have towed the van to gather evidence., IE fingerprints, he tells us. There were items left behind in the vehicle as well.

If you have any information please contact the Joplin Police Department non-emergency number. 417-623-3131, press 0. Ask to speak to the officer on duty, saying you have information regarding today’s school bus crash.

TIMESTAMP: WED | JAN 29 | 6:40 AM
INCIDENT: School bus and stolen vehicle crash
LOCATION: JOPLIN, Coyote Drive and Deer Drive (Love’s Travel Stop)
SYNOPSIS: Bus #65. No injuries on the bus reported, two children were on the bus. Parents picked them up at the scene. Developing story. Avoid the area near Loves. Coyote closed north of Loves. Sgt Thomas Bowen of the Joplin Police Department tell us this was a stolen vehicle reported out of Joplin this morning. Police noticed rhe vehicle near 32nd and Schifferdecker. They did not pursue the vehicle. Vehicle traveled south on Coyote. Joplin officers came upon the crash near Deer Drive and Coyote. Person(s) in vehicle fled on foot. No arrests at this time.
NOTE: Continually updating story, the minivan was warming up with keys inside. Owner contacted police immediately. Vehicle had a tracking device.

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