Lawrence police arrested two people from Kansas City, Kan., in connection with an automobile accident in Lawrence and a chase that spanned Douglas and Leavenworth counties and ended with no major injuries.
Lawrence police Sgt. Damon Thomas said the chase started at 5:51 p.m. after a Lawrence police officer witnessed a noninjury, chain-reaction accident at 19th and Alabama streets.
Jenny Murtaugh, a victim in the accident, said she memorized the license plate of the car as it fled the scene.
“I stepped out of my car, and I could see that she was freaking out and getting ready to take off,” Murtaugh said.
Brandon Hermrick, another victim in chain-reaction accident, said he thought he was also bumped from behind as the light at 19th Street and Naismith Drive turned green.
“The person who had hit her (Murtaugh) had turned away and started speeding away. I honked at the cop who happened to be in front of me, luckily.”
That officer pursued the suspect vehicle, a black Toyota Celica, which reportedly ran red lights at 23rd and Massachusetts streets as well as 19th and Naismith during the chase.
The chase proceeded east out of town, headed north through Eudora then back west on Kansas Highway 32, which intersects Kansas Highway 24-40, and continued west, dodging spike strips along the way. At one point, the car’s two occupants switched positions, with the male ending the chase in the driver’s seat. With both the Lawrence Police Department and Kansas Highway Patrol cruisers in pursuit, the vehicle then headed south at Teepee Junction and it made its way eastbound onto the Kansas Turnpike via the center tollbooth traveling the wrong way and into oncoming traffic, according to a witness.
After about a half-hour, the chase finally ended near the off-ramp of the Kansas Turnpike and Kansas Highway 7, close to the Leavenworth County-Wyandotte County border.
Speeds in excess of 100 mph were reported. Thomas, the Lawrence police officer, couldn’t confirm that the vehicle had struck the spike strips that had been deployed, but by the time the car stopped, both of its passenger-side tires were worn down to the rims. He added that Douglas County officers were prepared to assist but were not needed.
The female suspect was booked in the Douglas County Jail Wednesday evening on a bond of $950. She was charged with fleeing and eluding officers, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a noninjury accident, failing to report an accident and no proof of insurance.
The second suspect, a 25-year-old man, was also booked Wednesday evening on a bond of $3,500. He was charged with driving without a license, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a noninjury accident, failing to report an accident, fleeing and eluding officers, driving while intoxicated, and driving while suspended.