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Driver who fled police dies after crashing into bank building in Sunset Hills

Police investigate a fatal car crash early Wednesday, July 10, 2019, after a vehicle fleeing police plowed into the side of a bank building at 3701 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills. Screen grab from KTVI.

UPDATED with identification of the driver.

SUNSET HILLS — A man led police on a high-speed chase early Wednesday in Sunset Hills, then died after crashing into a bank building on South Lindbergh Boulevard.

The man, identified on Thursday as Alexander K. Jalaff, 25, of the 80 block of Winter Valley Drive in Fenton, was thrown from the car about 3 a.m. and died at the scene, police said.

The force of the crash left a gaping hole in the side of the brick BMO Harris bank building, 3701 South Lindbergh Boulevard.

Police didn't know why Jalaff fled. 

Sunset Hills Police Sgt. Robbie Hagen said it all began at 2:54 a.m. Wednesday when a police officer patrolling Sunset Hills saw the car behind a building in an industrial area off of Old Gravois Road. The building, in the 12900 block of Old Gravois Road, is south of Highway 30. Thefts have been reported at the industrial area from several company vehicles.

The officer went to stop the driver to find out why he was there, but the driver took off, Hagen said.

The man sped east on Old Gravois, then went east on Highway 30 and north on Lindbergh. He was speeding and driving erratically, Hagen said.

The officer in pursuit lost sight of the car somewhere south of Rott Road near Lindbergh. When the officer got to the intersection of Rott and Lindbergh, he saw that the car had crashed into the bank building.

The driver, the lone occupant of the car, had been thrown from the vehicle and was dead, Hagen said.

Hagen said the industrial area where the officer had first spotted the man has been the scene of several thefts. Since Jan. 1, 2018, there have been 37 stealing reports, five stolen motor vehicles and seven reports of attempted stealing or property damage, Hagen said.

Kim Bell is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.