ST. LOUIS – A federal judge sentenced Curtis Alford for his role in a June 2018 carjacking that claimed the life of the owner of the popular Gus Gus Fun Bus.
Alford, 22, was sentenced to 20 years in prison plus 5 years probation for the crime. Alford pleaded guilty in November 2019 to one count of carjacking resulting in death.
The carjacking took place just after 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, 2018, in the 700 block of Chestnut Street, less than a block away from the Taste of Downtown STL event.
Two women said they were parking their Ford F-150 on the street when they were approached by two individuals, Curtis Alford and Jana Stowers. Alford and Stowers pepper-sprayed the women and stole their truck.
During the vehicle theft, Alford is said to have run over two witnesses, one of whom was identified as Michael Arnold, the Gus Gus owner. Arnold was attempting to record the suspects on his phone prior to being struck.
Arnold died at the hospital a few days later.
“This is not a resolution for the victim’s families. This is only the resolution for the legal phase of it,” Eastern District of Missouri Communications Director Venton Blandin said. “From today on out, the victims will likely suffer from this in various ways, so this is not the end for them.”
In a Zoom meeting U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry said given Alford’s time in foster care as a youth and his mental health issues, the sentence is sufficient but not greater than necessary.
She didn’t believe Alford set out to kill someone that day but said this was a serious crime with devastating consequences.
In a statement, Arnold’s wife, Suzanne, said, “This day is about what the defendant took from all of us. However, now we may be able to move past the criminal aspects of this terrible incident.”
US Attorney Jeff Jensen said Alford “deserves every day of his sentence.”