by Sam Levin
A police chase ended badly for a male suspect yesterday when he somehow managed to run into the St. Louis county police headquarters -- and inadvertently headed straight toward the chief's office.
And if that's not bizarre enough, Randy Vaughn, the county's media relations officer and spokesman, was actually inside the office while this happened and had to chase after him and help apprehend him. The man, it seems, tried to escape into the building not realizing it was, well, filled with cops.
"Usually, bad guys don't run at you," Vaughn tells Daily RFT. "It was ridiculous."
It was around 2 p.m. and Vaugn says he and Lieutenant Bryan Ludwig were in the office discussing a policing contract.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Ludwig, Vaughn recalls, told him, "'Duck, if I tell you to duck.'"
And then he saw this man sprinting in their direction.
The man reportedly was trying to figure out which way to go next, but there weren't a whole lot of options. He could go straight to the chief's office, where the officers had spotted him or run to a dead end at the headquarters' "intelligence unit," Vaughn explains.
"He had nowhere to go," he says.
When Vaughn walked out, he couldn't immediately locate it. "I can hear him breathing."
Then he saw him.
"He is in a fetal position trying to hide in the corner," says Vaughn, who then called for help. The whole thing happened in a span of about 30 seconds.
At this point, he says, he helped apprehend the suspect, who had apparently fled Clayton police during a traffic stop.
"It was not a typical day," he says.
The Post-Dispatch identifies the suspect as Joseph Meacham, 39, from the city, who allegedly pushed an officer and ran on foot -- and then into the police headquarters.
A Clayton officer told the paper it appeared he didn't know the area and had no idea where he was going.
Vaughn says there were a few civilians in the police headquarters at the time who were a bit confused by the whole ordeal.
"This is not a common occurrence," he says.