The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

August 27, 2013

Assault charge dismissed; woman placed on probation

An assault charge that a Rogersville woman was facing for allegedly hitting a Sarcoxie store clerk with her car has been dismissed in a plea deal on two other felony counts.

Florence M. Coffman, 36, was sentenced Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to concurrent terms of four years each on convictions for tampering with a motor vehicle and possession of methamphetamine. But Circuit Judge Gayle Crane suspended execution of the sentences and instead placed the defendant on supervised probation for five years.

Coffman’s plea deal with the prosecutor’s office called for dismissal of a separate count of second-degree assault stemming from an incident Feb. 11 at the Kum & Go store in Sarcoxie. In that case, she was accused of striking Erica J. Perrin with the rear bumper of her vehicle when Perrin tried to stop her on suspicion of taking several food items from the store without paying.

Perrin and another clerk followed her out of the store and Perrin stood behind her vehicle to block her from leaving. A probable-cause affidavit alleged that Coffman backed into Perrin twice, causing the clerk to jump on the back of the car to avoid being run over the second time.

Coffman then took off at a high rate of speed with Perrin clinging to the vehicle by its spoiler before Coffman stopped long enough to let her get off, the affidavit states.

The defendant picked up the other two felony counts on March 31 when a Joplin police officer stopped a Chevrolet Avalanche that she was driving at Seventh and Main streets because the vehicle had been reported stolen. The officer found a bag on the center console of the Avalanche that contained a pipe, a digital scale and some methamphetamine.

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