An Independence mother faces several felony charges after she struck an off-duty Independence police officer and sped away from a Wal-Mart when the officer tried to question her about alleged shoplifting.
Jackson County prosecutors charged Jasmine Ellis, 28, with third-degree assault, resisting arrest and three counts of child endangerment. The police officer, who was off duty working as a loss prevention officer, was taken to the hospital and treated for bruises on his leg. Ellis allegedly hit the officer's leg with the front passenger fender and bumper of her car as she sped out of the parking lot with three children in the car, then drove erratically through the intersection of 39th Street and Missouri 291, nearly causing an accident according to witnesses. Police later located her at her apartment complex in northeast Independence.
According to court documents, two other loss prevention officers at the Wal-Mart on Bolger Square just off 39th Street watched on camera as Ellison took a variety of items – including a pack of Gatorade, Crockpot slow cooker, baby food, snack chips and bagels – to the self checkout. She rang up some items but failed to ring up and pay for the listed merchandise valued at $50.52. Ellison then left without showing a receipt and ran toward her car with her 11- and 5-year-old sons running behind and an infant in a car seat in the shopping cart.
Ellison then placed the infant in the car seat in the rear seat without securing the child, as the other boys got into the car on their own. One of the officers watching on camera contacted the officer in the parking lot, who watched Ellison run from the store to her car. As that officer tried to contact Ellison, she sped away. The entire incident was recorded on surveillance video.
Police soon received a 911 call about a vehicle matching Ellison's driving erratically northbound on M-291 from 39th Street. Police located Ellison's vehicle, with the Gatorade in the front seat, and Ellison came out of her apartment when called by police. She signed a consent to search, and police found the Crockpot in her basement. Ellison refused to talk with police without an attorney.
Her bond has been set at $10,000.