Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

Traffic stop starts

July 22, 2000

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A suspected drug dealer escaped Thursday night from a Douglas County Sheriff's deputy, then took a family's vehicle at gunpoint after a car crash in Shawnee County.

Investigators were still searching Friday night for an 18-year-old Topeka man suspected of driving a car in which the deputy found a handgun, cash and cocaine during a traffic stop west of Lawrence.

"He was very intent on not going to jail," said Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Blake McCall.

McCall made the traffic stop just before 9 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Stull Road and U.S. Highway 40. He clocked the vehicle -- a black 1997 Nissan with two men inside-- doing 95 mph in a 55 mph zone.

When McCall approached the stopped car, he smelled marijuana smoke and saw two "joints" in the vehicle's ashtray, he said. He radioed for help, then searched the car.

The first thing McCall did was open the glove box -- and cash spilled out, he said.

"I didn't take time to count it," McCall said. "But it was several hundred dollars."

After further searching turned up a gun and several rocks of crack cocaine, McCall tried to arrest the men.

"I tried to handcuff (him)," McCall said. "He turned on me, shoved me and tried to get away."

The two grappled and spilled out into the highway, the suspect getting away when McCall protected his gun from the suspect's reach. McCall pulled the T-shirt off of the man's back during the struggle and sprayed pepper juice into his face before the man got back to the Nissan and drove off.

The passenger was arrested.

An hour later, word came that the suspect's car had been in a head-on collision with a Southwestern Bell phone truck in eastern Shawnee County. Investigators said the suspect's head shattered the windshield as his car rolled onto its side.

"I wouldn't doubt (the accident) was because of the pepper spray," McCall said. "He probably couldn't see very well."

A family driving by stopped when they saw the accident. The suspect rewarded their good deed by taking their car at gunpoint and leaving them on the highway.

"He held a gun to the good Samaritan who stopped," said Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson.

Anderson said investigators searching the crashed car found the money and the cocaine -- and the handcuffs McCall had tried to place on the suspect. The stolen car was recovered Friday, a Shawnee County Sheriff's dispatcher said.

The suspect is probably still stinging from the pepper spray, McCall said.

"I sure felt bad he got away with the gun and was able to use it later, that kind of bothers me," McCall said. "But in the end, nobody got hurt but him."

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