For Immediate Release
Joplin Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm After High Speed Police Chase
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing a firearm following a high-speed pursuit in which he nearly struck several officers.
Theodore Lane, 36, of Joplin, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Lane was arrested on Jan. 5, 2015. At approximately 10:30 p.m. that day, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team approached a Joplin residence and ordered Lane, who was sitting in a truck idling next to the residence, to get out of his vehicle. Instead, Lane put the vehicle in drive and drove in the direction of three SWAT operators in an effort to flee in the vehicle, almost striking them. Lane drove the vehicle through a barbed-wire fence and traveled south on Black Cat Road.
Members of the Joplin Police Department engaged in a high speed car chase with the vehicle. The pursuit traveled on numerous residential streets in the city of Joplin and eventually south of town into Newton County, Mo. Joplin police officers made several attempts to deploy stop sticks to flatten the tires of the truck, however, Lane was able to avoid this tactic. While still being pursued in Newton County, Lane made a turn and while doing so, caused one of the tires to come off the rim. Once this happened, sparks began to come from the truck.
The pursuit continued on several Newton County roads in the Greenwood area with Lane leading officers to the outer road on the north side of I-44. As Lane was being pursued on the outer road, he drove off the roadway and his truck became stuck in the field. Lane made several attempts to get the vehicle unstuck but was unsuccessful. Officers pursuing Lane were able to take him into custody by employing tasers on him. Lane appeared to be under the influence of either alcohol or controlled substances when arrested.
After Lane was taken into custody, officers observed a black rifle case in the passenger side of the vehicle. The rifle case contained a loaded Panther Arms .223-caliber rifle. Additionally, officers discovered two more magazines containing 25 rounds each of .223-caliber ammunition, one empty magazine, and 35 more rounds of .223-caliber ammunition in ammunition boxes. In total, Lane possessed 110 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition.
Under federal statutes, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Lane has three prior felony convictions for stealing a motor vehicle and prior felony convictions for unlawfully possessing equipment, chemicals and materials used to manufacture methamphetamine and for tampering with a motor vehicle.
Lane is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the Newton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.
Additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at