Cops believe Reggie Allen mowed down an unarmed black man outside an east-side club more than a year ago. So why isn't he behind bars?

Things quickly spiraled out of control.

Aubrey Rice spun the Camaro around the gravel lot, kicking up clouds of dust. At some point, not far away, a security guard Tased Williams. He collapsed onto the gravel.

Neal reached into his car, pulled out his gun and fired twice into the air, he says, in the hope of scattering everyone. It didn't work.

The many faces of Reggie Allen: Mugshots from Allen’s numerous arrests.
The many faces of Reggie Allen: Mugshots from Allen’s numerous arrests.
Tim Lane

But it got the attention of Reggie Allen, who believed the bullets were flying at him — or so his friends would later contend.

Neal says the white truck came roaring at him, chasing him as he ran into a field and around a telephone pole. Evidence photos taken later of heavy tire tracks through the grass support his claim.

Neal managed to shake his pursuer. The last time he saw the truck, he says, it was hunting a new target: Anthony Rice, who was scrambling up South Eighth Street.

At his young age, Anthony Rice had already undergone heart surgery three times. He also suffered from asthma. On this particular night, he couldn't run fast enough.

The doctor performing the autopsy would later write that Rice, who had scarcely any alcohol in his system, was "run over by an automobile." A crash report completed by the East St. Louis Police Department says that Rice was "struck in the roadway" and that "it was determined that Reginald Allen was the driver." A jury of citizens convened for the coroner's inquest later concluded that the episode was a "homicide."

Aubrey Rice had just parked the Camaro at the road's edge, he says, when he saw the F-150 flatten his brother and continue north.

He darted over to Anthony, who lay in the street.

"He was like pffft, pffft, trying to breathe," Aubrey Rice recalls. "I had to stick my finger in his mouth, try to get the blood out." Then he jumped back in his car and raced toward Allen's truck, which had made a U-turn.

"I hit him, T-bone style," Aubrey says. "I was ready to take Reggie out with me. I was thinking, 'How am I gonna tell my momma about this? I'm not fixing to let him hit my brother again and get away with this.'"

Aubrey exited the car, spitting up blood and feeling "woozy."

He staggered back to his dying brother, Anthony. "I just fell. I kept getting cold, and my eyes started getting heavy. After that, I was looking at him, I was right next to him.

"And that's the last thing I remember."

For any St. Louisan heading east on I-64 for late-night revelry, the first strip club off the Washington Park exit is owned by Reggie Allen's mother, Gail. It bears her nickname in gleaming red letters: Miss Kitty's.

Gail Allen obtained her business license in 1996. Within three years, the bar was raided by undercover agents.

Under pressure from Washington Park residents to crack down on the strip joints, authorities swooped into four of them on April 22, 1999, arresting 31 people for lap dancing, masturbation and other sexual acts. Gail Allen and three of her female dancers were charged with misdemeanor obscenity.

The charges were later dismissed, and Gail kept the club open, assisted by her husband, Woodrow. Their older son, Chuck, managed the place.

As for their younger son, Reggie Allen, he committed his first felony in June 2000: smashing out the windows of two vehicles at a party in Cahokia. He was later sentenced to probation.

Allen turned eighteen that September. Soon, he was stirring up trouble at his mother's business, according to one former dancer, Monika Abbington.

"Miss Kitty would always tell Reggie, 'Don't bring no bullshit in here,'" the ex-employee recalls. "I think Reggie was just too much to handle. Can you imagine being eighteen and your mom and dad owning a club? What would that do to your mind? It had to give this young man a big head."

Abbington says she witnessed a disturbing event: Certain dancers didn't feel Mexican customers were tipping enough one evening, so they fibbed to Allen that they were getting fondled. Allen and another employee hauled the patrons out the back door and beat them with bats, she says. (Reggie Allen did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)

But Allen also engaged in some fondling of his own, Abbington recalls. He tried to grab her boobs and her butt so often that she informed her boyfriend, who attempted to discuss it with Allen one night in the parking lot. Allen flew into a rage, she says, then tried to Mace him and hit him with some kind of billy club. The couple got away and filed a police report alleging battery. They later chose not to press charges.

"I never went back after that," she says.

In 2005, the Allens opened a second club in East St. Louis, at 1100 South Eighth Street. They called it City Nights. Soon, history repeated itself: It too was raided by undercover police.

This time, Reggie Allen and a bouncer were led away in handcuffs, along with a manager who'd presented a fake badge, pretending to be a cop from New Melle. City Nights hadn't even secured a business license yet, and Allen was charged with a misdemeanor for operating an illegal strip club. (The charges were later dropped.) Officers also arrested four girls who'd been performing topless — an illegal act in East St. Louis.

« Previous Page
Next Page »