Three killed in shooting, chase
By Robert Patrick and Heather Ratcliffe
Of the Post-Dispatch
A man fatally shot his estranged wife and her friend in Town and Country on Friday, authorities said, then led police on a high-speed chase before he was killed in a spectacular crash at Highway 40 and Lindbergh Boulevard.
Authorities identified the couple as John Clark Alexander, 38, and Kelli L. Alexander, 35, both of Frontenac, and the friend as April Wheeler, 29, of St. Charles.
The Alexanders, who have three children, were getting a divorce, and she had an order of protection against him issued last month, police said. Kelli Alexander and her children were staying with April Wheeler and her husband, Mark Wheeler, in St. Charles.
The tragedy played out about 5 p.m. in the 2600 block of Bopp Road, in front of a row of tidy ranch houses and tree-lined sidewalks, a few blocks from the Alexanders' home. Mark Wheeler said his wife, Kelli Alexander and the children were supposed to go to a fish fry at St. Clements Catholic Church in Des Peres on Friday evening with John Alexander. April Wheeler went along to supervise the visit because of Kelli Alexander's restraining order.
Police said John Alexander waited in his white GMC Denali, a customized SUV, on Bopp Lane until he saw his wife coming north on Bopp Road. He pulled in front of her. .
Kelli Alexander got out, and John Alexander chased her down and shot her, police said. He then returned and shot April Wheeler.
The Denali sped away, leaving tire ruts in a neighbor's yard. Police said the couple's children were unharmed. Police said it was unclear how much of the shooting they saw. They were being cared for by neighbors immediately after the incident.
After the shooting, police spotted John Alexander's vehicle near Bopp Road and Manchester Road. They followed him to Interstate 270, which Alexander took north to Page Avenue, where he turned around and headed south on 270. A KTVI (Channel 2) television news helicopter followed Alexander's vehicle, clocking it at speeds of about 100 mph. Alexander took Highway 40 east, clipping a guardrail on the right side of the road west of Lindbergh Boulevard, crushing a section of it.
The SUV went across the grass, lost a tire and went airborne, vaulting two lanes of southbound Lindbergh, a concrete barrier and landing in a northbound lane. It narrowly missed at least one car passing beneath.
The impact left a streak of white car paint across one lane of Lindbergh, and the SUV stayed upright for 10 to 15 yards, then rolled dozens of yards before stopping on its roof in the grassy center of the cloverleaf on the east side of Lindbergh. Alexander was thrown from the car.
A story in the Post-Dispatch a decade ago detailed an altercation the couple had with a police officer in Warson Woods who stopped them because their license plate was not properly lighted.
Warson Woods dropped the charge, but John Alexander was upset about a $3 fee that the city charges to postpone municipal court cases. Alexander had requested two postponements on the ticket, for a total of $6. He ultimately paid it in nickels, dimes and quarters and vowed to sue the city.