Lansford charged with vehicle theft, attempted carjacking, assault

Neal A. Johnson; Roxie Murphy
Unterrified Democrat Editor; Maries County Advocate Staff Writer

Zachary T. Lansford, 20, of Bland, is no stranger to law enforcement, and Friday’s incident at Belle came just about a week after he was released from the Osage County jail, where he is now being held without bond following a series of alleged criminal actions across both Maries and Osage counties.

According to Belle Deputy Jerry Coborn, who was on patrol Friday night, local man Danny Ridenhour flagged him down at about 8:15 at Double L Country Store at the intersection of Alvarado and Highway 28, saying his 2003 Dodge Ram truck was stolen from the parking lot.

“I activated my emergency equipment and attempted to conducted a traffic stop,” Coborn said. 

The driver was later identified as Lansford.

“He was heading eastbound on Highway 28 at a high rate of speed and sideswiped a car as he was leaving town,” Coborn said. “Went approximately 2.5 miles out of Belle before going off roadway on the left, and attempted to go back on roadway, impacted another vehicle before hitting a cement culvert on the right hand side of the road.”

The deputy in his police report noted speeds reached as high as 100 miles per hour. The truck sustained a broken axle and both tires were removed when it crashed into the culvert.

Coborn saw the crash as he approached. 

“I went on past him and turned around to put on my lights,” he said. “Before I could turn and get back to him, he was out of the vehicle and attempted to stop a passing driver and take a vehicle by force.”

By the time Osage County Deputy Ricky Jarvis was dispatched at 8:38, the incident had escalated at the intersection of Pepper Lane and 28, just east of Belle, from vehicle tampering and evasion to an attempted carjacking and armed criminal action.

Good Samaritan assaulted

According to a report filed by Jarvis, he met with a male victim, who was traveling west on 28 with his wife and child when they saw a patrol car with its emergency lights activated. As the officer neared, the victim said he saw a white male, later identified as Lansford, in the middle of the highway.

After swerving to avoid hitting him, the victim said he pulled to the side of the road, thinking Lansford had been involved in an accident.

He rolled down his window to ask if Lansford was okay, and that’s when the Bland man told him to let him in the vehicle.

At that time, the victim said he “felt like the male subject was on something,” Jarvis said in his report, noting that the victim attempted then to roll up the window. 

Lansford, however, had other ideas, and forced the window down.

With Lansford nearly halfway into the vehicle, the victim said he feared for his family’s safety, which included his 2-year-old son, who was in the back seat. The victim tried to push Lansford out of the car, at which time Lansford said, “If you don’t let me in this car, I’m going to take it,” according to statements taken by Jarvis.

The victim said he attempted to grab Lansford’s throat, at which time, he believes, Lansford cut him with an unknown object. A push by the victim forced Lansford out of the car, and the victim drove away.

Jarvis reported that when he interviewed the victim, he noted a half-inch laceration to his left forearm, and his blood on the inside of the driver’s door. The victim was checked out by EMS personnel but refused further treatment.

Coborn in his report indicated that he saw Lansford standing beside the victim’s car before it sped off. “He had a knife and attempted to force the driver of the vehicle out, assaulting the driver in the process,” the deputy said. “At that point I was behind him and the car he attempted to hijack left the scene. He tried to walk towards me with knife in hand.”

Coborn said he gave Lansford three verbal commands to drop the knife. However, Lansford continued to walk toward Coborn and the deputy noticed Lansford was under the influence and staggering and off balance.

“Instead I just used strong hand tactics to take him to the ground and cuff him,” Coborn said.

Lansford was also in possession of contraband.

“They picked up the carjacking charge and assault with a weapon on the people in the car,” Coborn said of Osage County authorities. “Missouri State Highway Patrol picked up the charges for under the influence (and careless and imprudent driving involving an accident) and Belle picked up the resisting arrest by fleeing and stealing at Double L.”

Lansford is being held on a no-bond warrant for the Highway Patrol charges, and he faces charges in Osage County for armed criminal action and robbery in the first degree, both felonies.

Lansford is also on probation/parole for assault in the second degree and possession of controlled substances. Coborn said he verified the vehicle was registered to Ridenhour and Lansford was not given permission to drive ir. A surveillance video of the parking lot at Double L Country Store was also available.

Maries County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Skouby said Monday that charges have been filed against Lansford, including a warrant alleging the class D felony of tampering in the first degree, as Lansford allegedly took an automobile from Ridenhour, and a class E felony of resisting arrest by flight from Coborn. In Osage County, charges were also pending for attempting to deliver a controlled substance into a jail after deputies found meth in his possession during the booking procedure.