Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Vehicle crashes, driver flees

September 19, 2001

A 21-year-old Leavenworth man crashed a stolen sport utility vehicle he was driving early Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 24-40 at a bridge over Main Street.

And then he fled.

"He was driving too fast for the conditions and he swerved to go around a car and started spinning," said Tonganoxie police Sgt. John Putthoff.

Putthoff said witnesses said that the man, Jerry Williams Jr., apparently was driving east on the highway, on his way from Lawrence.

"He was going pretty fast," Putthoff said.

The vehicle, a white 1999 Ford Explorer, came to rest on its side on the north side of the highway, just west of the bridge over Main Street. Mandy Bethard, 17, Tonganoxie, a passenger in the SUV, was treated at Providence Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan., and released.

Lt. Pat Kitchens of the Leavenworth Police Department, said the Explorer was stolen on Aug. 31 in Leavenworth. A Leavenworth police detective said it's possible that stolen property book bags and brief cases, for example were in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

"The detective recovered a great deal of property out of the vehicle that initially we believe may have been stolen property," Kitchens said. "He had quite a volume of stuff."

Officers originally were told the driver went to a nearby residence, but then realized he'd fled.

"We never did see him again," Putthoff said. "We had several units out looking for him."

It's possible that the theft of another vehicle from 218th and Parallel later was connected to the accident, Putthoff said. According to the sheriff's department, a 1994 gray Pontiac was stolen between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

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