KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Kan., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for ramming a stolen car into the checkpoint barrier at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.
Eric Keith Mendoza, 41, of Kansas City, was charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Mendoza on Aug. 7, 2014.
Today’s indictment alleges that Mendoza damaged the barrier when he accelerated through the checkpoint at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant on Aug. 7, 2014. Mendoza is also charged with entering the plant without authorization and with transporting a stolen vehicle across the state line from Kansas to Missouri.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Mendoza was driving a stolen 1997 Cadillac Deville when he arrived at the Lake City installation’s primary entry gate. His identification was requested, the affidavit says, but Mendoza accelerated at a high rate of speed through the checkpoint onto the installation. Per standard operating procedure, security personnel activated the final denial barrier, which consists of an in-ground steel plate barrier which is activated in an emergency situation. The barrier rises out of the ground in order to stop an oncoming vehicle from gaining access to the installation. Prior to the barrier are two speed mitigation “humps” in the roadway to slow approaching vehicles. The barrier is equipped with signage and red lights which illuminate upon activation, allowing vehicles the opportunity to stop prior to impacting it.
Mendoza’s vehicle struck the barrier, rendering the vehicle inoperable and causing moderate damage to the barrier. Damage to the barrier is estimated up to $20,000.
Mendoza fled the accident scene on foot, the affidavit says, travelling southbound on the installation. The Independence, Mo., Police Department K-9 unit provided assistance and located Mendoza adjacent to an inner fence where he was apprehended without further incident.
According to the affidavit, during inventory of the vehicle prior to it being towed from the scene, three clear plastic bags containing a “user quantity” of a white crystalline substance were recovered from underneath the front edge of the driver’s seat. Mendoza told officers he had smoked methamphetamine the day before.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Parker Marshall. It was investigated by the Department of the Army, the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the FBI and the Jackson County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.