Five prisoners being held in the Wellston city jail are free, even though their warrants haven't been cleared.
Officials released all the prisoners Wednesday night because the police department could no longer afford to feed them. The cash-strapped city had stopped providing funds for inmate meals.
Police officers began dipping into their own pockets to buy them food, but the city refused to reimburse the officers.
All of the prisoners released were being held on misdemeanor warrants.
Charges could be filed as soon as Tuesday morning against a Wellston City Councilwoman who allegedly attacked a resident during Monday night's council meeting.
Police say it began as a verbal altercation between council member Helen Jackson and an older woman who was addressing the council. But it escalated into a physical altercation after Jackson left her seat behind the podium and approached the woman, allegedly grabbing her arm. Police intervened, restraining Jackson.
The victim was taken to the hospital. Her condition isn't known.
The meeting broke up before the council could vote on the Mayor's appointment of former Pine Lawn Police Chief Rickey Collins with the Wellston police department.
Collins was hired after being fired by Pine Lawn for undisclosed reasons last month.
Wellston Police Chief G.T. Walker says he doesn't want Collins on his force, in part because of questions surrounding his record on the job. "We're in the process of rebuilding the name of the city of Wellston, the police department and all of the other departments," Walker said. "I feel that we need to hire the best that we can, with the cleanest records that we can so that we can move forward."
Walker also noted that Collins had fired many of the former Pine Lawn police officers who currently work in Wellston's department.
Collins says he believes Walker and the other officers who oppose him are looking for revenge.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of a two-alarm fire that shut down a busy St. Louis County roadway for several hours Sunday evening. Flames and smoke from the fire along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Wellston could be seen for miles.
King Drive was closed just west of Kielien for about four hours while firefighters from seven departments battled the blaze.
The fire destroyed a warehouse on the site of an old car dealership.
Fire officials say the building was vacant, and no one was hurt.