Archive for Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Driver held after chase

October 8, 2003

A young man, driving a stolen car, topped speeds of 100 mph on gravel roads as he fled from Basehor police late Tuesday morning.

The 1992 Nissan Infiniti, which was reported stolen from Kansas City, Mo., then crashed into a ditch on Leavenworth Road, just west of 187th Street and the young man escaped on foot.

But officers found him -- unharmed and unarmed -- about 10 minutes later near a bridge over Stranger Creek, about 0.4 of a mile from the accident scene.

"His pants were wet from the waist down, so he did go into the creek," said Bob Smith, deputy with the Leavenworth County sheriff's department.

According to Vince Weston, Basehor police chief, the incident began when Officer Justin Slaughter stopped a car at 157th Street and Leavenworth Road in Basehor for several traffic violations, including speeding and having an expired license tag. Slaughter said the driver then sped away from him, and Slaughter pursued him.

"When they break and run like that, there's usually a reason for that," Weston said.

As Slaughter chased the suspect's vehicle, Weston and officers from the sheriff's department and the Kansas Highway Patrol began to respond.

The chase route went west from Basehor on Leavenworth Road, which turns to gravel about two miles west of where the car was stopped. At one point during the pursuit, Slaughter backed off because the suspect's car was going too fast.

Slaughter lost sight of the vehicle, but saw tracks leading into the trees where it had crashed.

"The officer did a good job of finding it -- you notice where it's at," Weston said, pointing about 40 feet away, deep into brush on the north side of Leavenworth Road, where the stolen car had landed after it missed a curve.

But the driver was not in sight.

Officers set up a perimeter, looking through the brush to the east and west of the accident scene.

Within about 10 minutes, highway patrol Trooper Jesse Johnson saw the man.

"He was climbing up when I saw him," Johnson said, adding that the man was not armed.

A request for a highway patrol helicopter to help in the pursuit was canceled.

Weston said Tuesday afternoon that officers still were trying to determine the man's identity. Originally, he said he was 16 years old.

"We're still working on it because he won't identify himself," the chief said.

The man's fingerprints were sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, in hopes of identifying him.

Other than possession of a stolen vehicle, Weston said, the suspect will be in custody on numerous traffic offenses, including eluding law enforcement officers.

Before the car was towed away, officers discovered numerous items in the car trunk, including credit cards, radios, amplifiers, auto parts, a CD changer and a woman's purse.

Officers were pleased with the outcome of the chase -- no one was hurt and the suspect was in custody.

"The big thing here was a lot of help at once -- a lot of eyes," Weston said.

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