Lawrence police officer hit during high-speed chase

Suspect arrested; highway closed for hours

Barbara Jo Schnegelsiepen, 27, of Topeka, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon after a high-speed chase Tuesday afternoon. Lawrence police, Douglas County Sheriff's deputies and other law enforcement agencies chased the vehicle whose driver was connected to a break-in that happened in Lawrence earlier Tuesday. The chase lasted for 45 minutes and covered much of northwest Douglas County. A Lawrence police officer was struck by the fleeing vehicle shortly before this photo was taken. Another officer stopped the chase a few minutes later by striking the fleeing vehicle with his vehicle.

A woman was taken into custody shortly after noon Tuesday following a lengthy high-speed chase during which a Lawrence police officer was injured.

The chase, which sometimes exceeded 90 mph, took officers west of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 40 and headed north into rural areas west of Lecompton. Officers were chasing a woman wanted for questioning for a series of burglaries Tuesday morning, said Sgt. Bill Cory, police spokesman.

A Lawrence police officer was struck by the fleeing vehicle on Highway 40 east of Big Springs, Police Chief Ron Olin said. A police spokesman said the injured officer was in stable condition Tuesday night.

According to Douglas County Jail records, Barbara Jo Schnegelsiepen, 27, of Topeka, was booked on several charges Tuesday, and no bond was listed. She was in custody on two counts of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer; one count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer; two counts of aggravated burglary; one count of possession of stolen property; one count of theft greater than $25,000; one count of fleeing or attempting to elude police; and one count of driving with a suspended license.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said Tuesday night that he had no information yet about filing charges.

According to Shawnee County District Court records, Schnegelsiepen has an extensive criminal history there, including four convictions through plea agreements since 2004. In one, she entered a no-contest plea in March 2005 to one count of battery of a law enforcement officer. A judge later revoked her probation in that case and then reinstated it.

Billy Waters, a witness who was working in a field near where the officer was struck, said Tuesday afternoon that the driver was trying to avoid stop sticks that had been laid across the highway.

“Instead of hitting the spike strips, she took the ditch, and the cop that was standing right there, she ran him right over and he went up over the top of the car,” said Waters, who was later interviewed by detectives. “It was all pretty fast. I was just sitting here in the loader and the next thing I know, there’s cop cars and things flying by.”

The highway was closed for several hours after the crash.

The officer — whose name was not released by police Tuesday — was transported by ground ambulance to a Kansas City-area hospital.

“I bet he has a broken leg or two. He got hit hard, real hard,” Waters said.

The suspect ultimately was captured a mile north of Stull after a Lawrence police officer’s vehicle struck her vehicle and ended the chase. Police took the woman into custody about 12:18 p.m., a news release said.

Lawrence police, the Kansas Highway Patrol and Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies were involved in the chase and apprehension.

Police said the chase began when the suspect wouldn’t pull over for officers after a burglary occurred about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday in the 3100 block of Tomahawk Drive.

It’s believed Schnegelsiepen abandoned a blue Jeep-type vehicle west of Lecompton that was used during the first leg of the chase and continued the chase in a white Dodge Stratus.