Man on Parole Leads Police On High-Speed Chase

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PINE LAWN, MO (KTVI) -A suspected drunk driver arrested by Pine Lawn police has some wondering whether he should have been driving in the first place.

Police say early Thursday morning, 28-year-old Paul Tripp led officers on a high speed chase that topped 100 miles per hour.

Tripp eventually drove into a field and is car was stuck in the mud.  Police say he resisted arrest and was tased twice before taken into custody.

Field commander Steven Blakeney says Tripp has 4 prior DWI arrests.  Tripp was also sentenced to two years in prison for abandoning a corpse.  Valerie Butler died from a heroin overdose in 2010.

The chase for Tripp ended in a field near Missouri Bottom and Aubuchon Roads, just yards from where he abandoned Butler`s body.

"Part of me thinks its karma," said Jessica Francis, Butler's cousin. "It's just like déjà vu because it is a month from the day, two years ago she died."

Francis attended Tripp's sentencing in 2011.  She testified about her cousin's life in hopes the judge would hand down a stiff sentence.

"The judge asked him if there was anything he would like to say or apologize to our family," said Francis.

"He just looked at me right in my face and said no."

We were at the Pine Lawn police department when Tripp was transferred to the St. Louis County Jail.  We asked Tripp if he thought he had a drinking problem and what it would take for him to stay out of trouble.  He remained silent as police led him away in handcuffs.

Tripp received a 2 year sentence.  He was also serving time for violating his parole from a drug conviction.  The Missouri Department of Correction says including jail time, Tripp served 1 year and 4 months behind bars.

"I just feel like the justice system has failed," said Francis.  

She has been fighting for tougher laws related to heroin deaths and anyone abandoning a body.

"He shouldn't have been able to lead police on a high speed chase," said Francis.

Blakeney says Tripp showed no remorse for his actions.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if he would have killed a family or somebody else...I don`t think it would have bothered him one bit."

Tripp has been charged with Driving While Intoxicated and Resisting with Lawful Stop. 

The Missouri Probation and Parole Board has issued a No-Bond Warrant for Paul Tripp.

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