Granddaughter of local couple helps nab felon

The following story is courtsey of the Hays Daily News, Hays , Kan.

Melissa Keahey is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Overbay, Boise City

By PHYLLIS J. ZORN

Hays Daily News

After finishing the last college final of her freshman year, Melissa Keahey had one more thing to do Thursday afternoon before leaving Hays for the summer.

Keahey stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol office to pick up a certificate naming her an honorary trooper.

Keahey, 18, an elementary education major from Meade, was given the award for her quick thinking on Feb. 9 when a man who had fled troopers during a drug arrest got into Keahey's car and told her to drive him to Mexico.

She initially told him to get out of the car. But the man, Ruben Partida-Cervantes, 43, San Bernardino, Calif., told her to take him to someone who spoke Spanish, so Keahey drove to a south Hays car repair shop, where she summoned police.

Besides the certificate and plaque naming Keahey an honorary trooper, she was given a letter signed by William Seck, the patrol superintendent.

“This honorary trooper certificate is awarded in recognition of your quick thinking and actions under extremely stressful conditions on Feb. 9, 2004 that ultimately led to the arrest of a subject that had earlier eluded the police,” Seck's letter reads.

“I was praying in my head that he didn't have a weapon,” Keahey said Thursday of the February incident.

The man who got into Keahey's car that day had been pulled over for a license tag violation on Interstate 70 about four hours earlier.

Troopers became suspicious that he might have drugs in his pickup and told him to follow them to a radiator shop in north Hays. When mechanics removed the radiator from the pickup, Partida-Cervantes fled.

Troopers pursued but lost him until the 911 call from Keahey.

Partida-Cervantes' truck radiator had a false compartment in the bottom. Six wrapped packages of cocaine were hidden inside.

Although kidnapping and possession of cocaine charges were initially filed in Ellis County District Court against Partida-Cervantes, he was indicted on a federal drug charge three days later. The Ellis County charges were dismissed. Partida-Cervantes is scheduled for trial May 25 in U.S. District Court in Wichita. He is charged with possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Boise City News
P.O. Box 278
105 W. Main Street
Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
Phone: 580 544-2222
Fax: 580 544-3281
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