By Pat Pratt
Madison County state’s attorneys have charged a St. Louis man in a November crash allegedly caused while fleeing police that left a retired U.S. Army military policeman from St. Jacob with life-threatening injuries.
Court filings show 39-year-old Ronnell L. Welch is charged with felony counts of aggravated fleeing police, aggravated reckless driving, theft of a motor vehicle and residential burglary related to the Nov. 14 crash that seriously injured Devyn Trampe.
“Attempting to flee from police is always a bad choice, and in Madison County, that choice will result in additional charges,” Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine said. “We pray for the recovery of the victim, Devyn Trampe, and we’re thankful that he has a loving, caring family beside him.”
Welch is currently in federal custody and has been since the incident. His supervised release on charges of felon in possession of a firearm was revoked after he was treated for injuries in the crash. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on the state charges filed Tuesday. An initial appearance has not been set.
Kelly Trampe is the mother of the victim and said the family was “elated” to learn the suspect had been charged in the crash.
“We are very happy that charges have been filed,” Trampe said “It brings a small amount of peace to us that this man will face a jury.”
Trampe said her son five months later is still fighting to overcome injuries sustained in the crash.
“Devyn is still in what they call an unconscious disorder,” Trampe said. “His eyes are open and he is moving around, but he has no movement to his body.”
Welch is accused of stealing a short time earlier the red Chevrolet truck he was driving at the time of the crash. Court records show the victim of the theft reported to Granite City police that Welch entered her home, took about $200 in coins and a watch, as well as the keys to her truck.
Granite CIty officers located Welch driving on Illinois Route 3 and initiated a traffic stop. Upon seeing police, Welch allegedly fled in the vehicle, at times driving 85 miles-per-hour in the 55-mile-per hour zone.
Welch approached the intersection of Route 3 and Rock Road and failed to stop at a traffic light flashing red, which indicated he was required to stop. The truck Welch was driving then struck the truck driven by Trampe, causing Tramp to be ejected from his vehicle. Trampe was then air-flighted to St. Louis University Hospital for treatment of severe injuries.
Welch exited the allegedly stolen vehicle before it burst into flames. With police already in pursuit, he was immediately taken into custody and taken to a hospital for treatment. He gave officers a fake name, which police quickly dismissed and soon after learned his real identity.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri records show at the time of the crash Welch was on federal supervision for an August 2018 charge of felon in possession of a firearm. In that case, he was sentenced in August 2019 to 42 months in prison.
Court documents show he was released about May 2022 and ordered to report to a St. Louis re-entry center. In July of that year, he was given a pass to leave the center and never returned. He was listed as an absconder from federal custody and was taken into custody Nov. 16 by U.S. Marshals.
In the federal case, a supervision revocation hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday with Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh presiding. Welch is represented in the federal case by the Federal Public Defenders Office, which does not comment on pending cases.