Wildgen: Review shows police not at fault in fatal collision

Lawrence City Manager Mike Wildgen said Friday that officers engaged in a high speed pursuit Tuesday followed the city’s policy adequately and are not to blame for the death of 56-year-old Lawrence resident Judith Vellucci.

“They were following the policy and the policy is one that is appropriate at this point … without going into further review of it, which I am,” said Wildgen. “I think it’s a policy which is appropriate.”

The seven- to eight-minute pursuit began when Lawrence police received a report of an erratic driver on Massachusetts Street. Police were in close pursuit for several minutes before backing off as the vehicle, driven by 19-year-old Man Ouk Cho, Lee’s Summit, Mo., accelerated down Kasold Drive. Cho eventually collided with Velluci’s car at the intersection of 31st Street and Nieder Road. Wildgen says Police Chief Ron Olin was able to answer most of the city staff’s questions.

“It was like most police reviews,” Olin said. “We looked at all the events leading up to the tragic loss of life.”

Wildgen and Olin say they will look for any needed improvements in the city’s pursuit policy, but as of yet, Olin says he doesn’t see any need for changes.

“It’ll be a collaborative effort” between city and police officials, Olin said. “If I find something better, we may change it … if I don’t, we’ll probably leave it the same.”

For more on this story, tune in to 6News at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband channel 6 and pick up a copy of Saturday’s Journal-World.