Merriam Woods Man sentenced to prison after shooting at police during high-speed chase

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A Merriam Woods, Mo., man who shot at a police officer during a high-speed pursuit has been sentenced in federal court in two separate cases for illegally possessing firearms.

Blake Christopher Basten, 34, was sentenced on Tuesday, Feb. 27, by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to 10 years in federal prison without parole.

On Feb. 21, 2023, Basten pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in two separate and unrelated cases.

The first case began when Springfield police officers executed a search warrant at another defendant’s residence on June 29, 2022. While conducting surveillance on the residence, a vehicle in which Basten was a passenger pulled up to the residence. Officers searched Basten and found a loaded Kel-Tec pistol in his waistband. Basten told investigators that he traded drugs for the handgun, which he carried because he had recently been shot at.

The second case began when a Springfield police officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a black Nissan Sentra, in which Basten was a passenger, on Aug. 18, 2022. When the officer pulled behind the Sentra in a hotel parking lot and activated his lights, the driver put the car in reverse and rammed the officer’s vehicle, pushing it back several feet. The officer got out of his vehicle, pulled his duty weapon, and ordered the vehicle’s occupants to stop. The driver instead drove forward slightly, then put his Sentra in reverse and rammed the officer’s car again before fleeing the parking lot.

A police pursuit ensued, with the Sentra traveling at a high rate of speed in a residential neighborhood. The pursuit ended when the Sentra crashed into a Jeep SUV at an intersection. While the Jeep suffered significant damage, the innocent driver appeared to be unharmed. The rear end of the Jeep had heavy damage, the rear passenger tire was missing, and the airbags had been deployed. Basten fled from the crash on foot.

Officers searched the vehicle and found two handguns on the front passenger side floorboard – a Smith & Wesson pistol, and a loaded Taurus pistol. The Smith & Wesson had no ammunition, and the slide was locked back, which was either because the slide was locked back manually or after all of the ammunition was fired. Witnesses reported that Basten was seen shooting a gun during the pursuit.

Shortly after the crash, Basten was found hiding under a car and arrested by deputies with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. One witness provided surveillance video that showed the Sentra traveling at a high rate of speed, followed by four audible gunshots. Shell casings and damage from gunfire were located throughout the neighborhood.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearms or ammunition. At the time of his arrest, Basten was on parole for involuntary manslaughter after he threatened his ex-girlfriend with a firearm, and then engaged in a high-speed chase where he pursued her in his vehicle and caused the death of an innocent bystander. Basten, who fled from police in a stolen vehicle after that incident, has eight prior felony convictions.

These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Wan. They were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.

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