LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - Authorities said a missing teenage girl and a sex offender from Florida are both in the hospital after a 40-mile chase and several crashes in Louisiana late Wednesday night.
The Lafayette Police Department says the teen was initially listed in critical condition at a hospital in Lafayette, but her condition has since been upgraded to serious, but stable condition. Officials said she was stabbed eight times on the front of her body and two times on the back of her body.
Police added Myers was also taken to a hospital once the chase ended in Lafayette. They said he was also stabbed. He was last listed in serious but stable condition.
Investigators said upon his release from the hospital, he will be booked on several charges, including attempted murder. He will be charged with crimes in Louisiana and Florida.
Officials say 16-year-old Ashley Lyon was reported missing on Wednesday, June 11 and was believed to be traveling with Myers.
According to WTVT in Tampa, FL, Ashley's parents said she left out of her bedroom window around 4 p.m. Her mother was serving jury duty and her father was at work. She had been grounded for weeks leading up to her disappearance. She was grounded for interacting with Steven Myers, a 41-year-old sex offender who lived nearby. Officials say thousands of text messages were sent between them.
Ashely's father says she has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.
WTVT says Ashley's family blanketed their Tampa neighborhood with fliers and reached out to the public on social media.
Exactly one week after the teenager went missing, a cashier at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, LA recognized Myers and Lyon when they walked in on Wednesday, June 18. The cashier contacted the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office.
"I feel the Lord wanted this to happen. Actually, (she) wasn't supposed to work last night," said Scott Holbrook, the manager at the truck stop, who was also working at the time. "So, it ended up that she did."
Holbrook says the employee doesn't usually watch Nancy Grace, but for some reason, she watched a clip from the show Tuesday night on her friend's Facebook page. "It was meant to be. The ride had a stop and it stopped here."
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, deputies with IPSO tried to pull over the Chevy 3500 flatbed pickup truck Myers was driving, but he refused to stop. Officials say the pickup truck was stolen.
"We had a unit close by," said Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi. "As they approached the vehicle, they made exit out of the parking lot and the chase was on.
The truck sped off on I-10 East. Officials stated during the chase, Myers reportedly hit four vehicles in an attempt to create road blocks behind him. Louisiana State Police said no injuries were reported in the crashes. Stassi described what happened during the chase.
"He dodged vehicles. He hit vehicles, trying to knock them in the way of the deputies that were chasing him. He swerved at 18-wheelers, trying to make them wreck on the high rise," Stassi explained.
Cpl. Paul Mouton with the Lafayette Police Department said officers put down spike strips and deflated five of the six tires, but Myers kept driving on the rims until the vehicle could go no farther.
"This chase was one where this guy was not going to stop until the vehicle gave out on him," Stassi said.
Mouton added the truck finally stopped on the I-10 overpass at North University Avenue after one of the tires caught fire. He added Myers got out with a knife in his hand and started moving toward officers. Officials say he told the deputies to shoot him.
According to Mouton, the officers shocked Myers with a Taser and sent a police dog after him. He said Myers was then disarmed and taken into custody. He added the suspect is being treated for a dog bite and multiple stab wounds. HCSO reported it is believed the stab wounds were self-inflicted.
Ashley Lyon's father attended a news conference Thursday afternoon to talk to the media about his daughter being found. "To hear that your baby girl has been stabbed...I wouldn't wish that on anyone," he said. He also thanked Mark Zuckerburg, the founder of Facebook, and Nancy Grace, for allowing the word to be spread that his daughter was missing.
During the news conference, Mr. Lyon said he would be happy to give the $5,000 reward to the people in Louisiana who found his daughter.
Multiple agencies are involved in the ongoing investigation.