Driver in early-morning pursuit ditches running vehicle; alleged road rage incident ends after victim displays handgun

Lawrence roads may not have been the safest place to be last night, according to the Lawrence Police Department’s 911 call log.

The following two traffic incidents that occurred overnight struck me as out of the ordinary for our typically quiet Monday nights in Lawrence. Let’s take a look:

Tuesday, 12:51 a.m.

A Lawrence police officer using a speed radar in the 1500 block of West Ninth Street clocked a vehicle going about 18 miles over the 30 mph speed limit in the area, LPD spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. Naturally, the officer flipped on the patrol car’s lights and siren, and followed the car as it turned north onto Missouri Street.

You can probably guess where this one’s going: The driver did not pull over for the patrol car and instead sped away. The vehicle then went east on Seventh Street, north on Mississippi Street and east on Fifth Street before turning north on the dead-end road of Ohio Street, McKinley said.

Faced with a dead end, the driver then allegedly hopped out of the vehicle without putting it into park, and attempted to run away, McKinley said. The driverless vehicle then continued on until it struck a parked car in the area.

An officer followed after the suspect on foot and soon caught up with him. They struggled for a bit, but the officer was eventually able to arrest the man.

He was later booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of his second DUI, refusal to submit to a breath test, attempting to elude police for at least the third time, obstruction of the legal process, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

However, according to Douglas County Jail booking logs, the man was apparently released from jail today around 1:15 p.m. The log indicates he was released because he was not charged in the case. Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the Douglas County District Attorney, said the district attorney’s office is “waiting on additional investigation reports.”

Monday, 11:04 p.m.

Lawrence police responded to a report of road rage in town after a “traffic dispute between two parties,” McKinley said.

McKinley said that the report on the incident had not yet been completed with information from both parties, but said that the victim recounted the following narrative:

The victim was driving in town when another driver allegedly cut him off in traffic. Later the other driver allegedly exited his vehicle to confront the victim.

The victim claimed he was “fearful about the other driver’s actions,” McKinley said, during the confrontation. The other driver then allegedly tried to open the victim’s car door, so the victim allegedly flashed a handgun at him.

The display of the gun was apparently enough to scare off the other driver, and he returned to his vehicle and left.

No one was arrested or injured in the incident, McKinley said.

According to the Douglas County Booking logs, six people were arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.