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Former Pike County sheriff candidate Grover Lynn Turner Jr., 40, of Louisiana, is facing seven felony counts of second-degree assault after allegedly twice ramming a vehicle full of passengers in July 2012.
Turner was taken into custody on Friday, July 19, on an arrest warrant issued by Pike County Circuit Court Judge David Ash after a year-long investigation.
He remained incarcerated in the Pike County jail on Tuesday, July 23, on a $25,000 cash-only bond as the Press-Journal went to press.
The case also involves former Louisiana Police Captain Jeff Windmiller, who allegedly lied to a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) trooper about his involvement in the incident, according to a probable cause statement.
Turner is also being held on a charge of felony property damage for allegedly ramming a pickup truck on Hwy. UU east of Pike County Road 139 just after midnight on July 29, 2012, according to court documents.
He also faces a misdemeanor count of making a false report to police for allegedly telling the MSHP troopers on July 30, 2012, that his pickup truck had been stolen.
Turner was soundly defeated by incumbent Sheriff Stephen Korte in the November 2012 general election by a two-to-one margin.
The alleged incident began when officers were called to the scene of what was initially reported as an accident, according to the probable cause statement.
A state trooper arrived to find seven people outside of a 2002 silver GMC pickup truck. The truck had extensive rear end damage and moderate damage to the rear quarter panel on the driver’s side.
At the scene, one of the passengers said the pickup truck that had allegedly rammed their GMC truck belonged to Turner and had an “Elect Turner for Sheriff” sticker in the rear window.
Turner was allegedly going after that passenger when he drove out of the Pike County Fairgrounds, according to another passenger.
Other individuals in the truck also identified Turner’s vehicle in the week following the incident.
Those witnesses “indicated it was not an accident and that Turner’s vehicle intentionally struck the 2002 GMC pickup once, backed up and struck the vehicle a second time,” the probable cause statement said.
Two troopers went to Turner’s home the night of the alleged incident, the MSHP statement said. Turner then allegedly told them he had received a ride from the fairgrounds and his truck was still there.
The troopers took Turner back to the fairgrounds but could not find his vehicle. Turner then told the troopers “I guess it’s stolen,” according to the statement.
On July 30, 2012, Turner filed a stolen vehicle report with the MSHP. His vehicle was soon found in Ralls County on Bailey Bridge Road east of Hwy. ZZ, the statement said.
Telephone records show Turner’s cellphone was being used close to that spot, “which is inconsistent with Turner’s statement that he never left the Pike County Fairgrounds,” the statement said.
On Nov. 9, 2012, a female friend of Turner’s told MSHP troopers she had initially lied when she said she gave Turner a ride from a road near the fairgrounds the night of the alleged incident, the statement said. The friend then told the MSHP she had not picked him up at all.
The female friend “stated she initially was not truthful because she thought Turner was drunk and resisted arrest by fleeing in his vehicle,” the statement said. “The female stated when she heard Turner reported his vehicle stolen, she thought he was trying to commit insurancefraud.”
Officer allegedly involved
Although not fully explained in the MSHP statement, the investigation led to Windmiller, who was interviewed about the incident on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.
Windmiller “admitted he initially lied to law enforcement officers in regard to picking up Turner up at the Pike County Fairgrounds,” the MSHP statement said. “Windmiller admitted he and his girlfriend traveled north of the Pike County Fairgrounds on (Hwy.) 61 and picked Turner up on an unknown gravel road.”
Pike County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Fisher said Tuesday, July 23 he is unsure whether Windmiller or his girlfriend will be charged in the case.
“We could at some point but at this time we have not made a decision,” Fisher said.
Windmiller is now an officer with the Ashland, Mo. police department. He resigned from the Louisiana force in February.