Conflicting stories after police cruiser crashes into St. Louis bar

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ST. LOUIS – FOX 2 has asked the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for additional clarification after hearing differing accounts about the cause of an overnight crash involving a police vehicle.

The crash happened just before 12:30 a.m. Monday at Bar: PM along the 7100 block of South Broadway, in the Carondelet neighborhood.

Two St. Louis police probation officers, each with less than one year of experience, were driving northbound on Broadway in a 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe. The driver lost control of the police vehicle, overcorrected, and crashed into the front facade of the bar.

Neither officer was injured in the crash.

Two bar workers, including one of the co-owners, were closing up for the evening at the time of the crash. They were also unharmed.

The owners live above the bar. James Pence, the other owner, was in the residence when he heard the crash and came downstairs to see what had happened.

Police claim that the driver of the Tahoe “believed he was traveling too close to a parked car” and overcorrected, which led to the crash.

However, Pence said the officer behind the wheel told him that he tried to avoid a dog in the roadway and that’s what caused him to lose control and hit the bar.

“I wish they would tell me truly what happened,” Pence said. “Accidents happen. Any one of us gets into an accident any day, I accept that. Own it, tell me what happened, and fix the building.”

Pence further claims that police put him in handcuffs for a time because there was a conflict over him showing officers his identification. Police made no mention of that in their media statement about the crash.

Pence’s husband, who was in the bar when the cruiser struck it, was upset about the crash and confronted officers.

Police said he began shouting profanity at the officers. Pence said things escalated into a physical confrontation between his husband and officers.

Police allege one of the officers in the cruiser attempted to calm the situation, but Pence’s husband shoved that officer in the chest. The other officer attempted to restrain the man, but he refused commands and was taken to the ground before being placed in handcuffs and arrested.

The man was taken to a hospital after complaining of a pre-existing medical condition.

The investigation regarding the crash is still ongoing. FOX 2 has contacted the SLMPD to ask about the discrepancy between the two accounts over the crash.

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