The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

July 2, 2013

Suspect in I-44 ramming incident remains jailed

NEOSHO, Mo. — A Joplin man accused of ramming his wife’s vehicle multiple times at a high rate of speed on Interstate 44 remained in jail Tuesday on a cash-only bond of $25,000.

Orlando Machuca-Vicente, 45, was scheduled to be arraigned and have a bond-reduction hearing in Newton County Circuit Court, but both matters were reset for July 15.

Machuca-Vicente was charged with first-degree domestic assault and armed criminal action after an incident June 26 on I-44 in Joplin. A police report and a probable-cause affidavit allege that he pursued his estranged wife, Tracie Machuca, at speeds in excess of 70 mph and rammed her Mitsubishi Eclipse with his BMW at least four or five times, causing her vehicle to run off the highway.

One witness told police that he was driving about 75 mph on I-44 when the defendant’s vehicle passed him “very quickly” and began to ram the Mitsubishi. The witness estimated that the BMW struck the Mitsubishi four or five times before it left the roadway.

A second witness told police that he saw the BMW strike the Mitsubishi three times before it crashed. When he stopped to help, Machuca-Vicente threatened to kill him, the second witness told police. The defendant then allegedly told the witness that he was going to get more people “to take care of this” and left the crash site.

Joplin police Lt. Brian Lewis said the responding officer’s report of the accident alleges that Machuca-Vicente pulled over after forcing his wife off the road, got out of his car and began threatening to kill her. She ran behind the car of the witness who stopped to get away from Machuca-Vicente, Lewis said.

The defendant reportedly left the area northbound on Main Street and was not questioned by police until the next day, when Detective Randy Black interviewed him.

Machuca-Vicente reportedly told the detective that his wife called him the day in question and threatened to kill him. He said he was taking her clothes to her father’s residence in Miami, Okla., and had pulled onto I-44 at Range Line Road when he spotted her vehicle parked on the shoulder.

He told the detective that he pulled alongside her car to speak with her, and she pointed a gun at him. When he tried to drive away, she pulled alongside his car and again pointed a gun at him, he told the detective. He claimed this happened several times before she began ramming his vehicle with hers.

When the detective told Machuca-Vicente that a witness provided a starkly different account from his own, he claimed no one had been around when it happened, except someone who had pulled up after the wife’s vehicle ran off the road. He told Black that he stopped to make sure his wife was OK and then left the area.

According to the probable-cause affidavit, neither witness reported seeing his estranged wife with a gun, and no weapon was observed by police on her person or in her vehicle.

City stretch

POLICE AND COURT RECORDS indicate that a domestic dispute led to a ramming incident one week ago on Interstate 44 between the Range Line Road and Main Street exits in Joplin.

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