Kansas Highway Patrol: Suspect’s attempts to flee lead to water rescue, Taser deployment in Lawrence

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

The Douglas County Jail is shown in this Journal-World file photo from February 2015.

An attempted traffic stop early Tuesday led to a pursuit on Interstate 70, water rescue, trip to the ER, foot chase and a Taser deployment outside the Douglas County Jail, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Troopers attempted to stop a car that they had been notified was stolen, around milepost 201 on eastbound I-70, KHP Technical Trooper Donald Hughes told the Journal-World. That’s just west of the interchange at U.S. 59 Highway.

The driver attempted to flee and swerved around stop sticks, Hughes said. The vehicle ended up stuck in a ditch, so the driver and a passenger, both males, abandoned the car and took off on foot, Hughes said.

Hughes said he “heard some ugly rumors,” but the vehicle was not rammed into a wall, and it wasn’t crashed. It just got stuck.

The pursuit was fairly short — less than 5 miles, Hughes said. It ended near Bismarck Lake, which is just east of the I-70 interchange in North Lawrence.

Bismark Lake

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Hughes said the driver ran and hid in the water. It was cold — somewhere around 30 degrees, Hughes said, and troopers “just waited him out” and requested an ambulance. Hughes wasn’t sure how long the man was in the water, but he said it was long enough that the troopers were concerned about hypothermia.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical deployed boats and helped get a person out of the water, Operations Division Chief Justin Temple told the Journal-World via email.

Hughes said the man was taken to the emergency room at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. When troopers “got the OK” that the suspect would be fine, they transported him to the Douglas County Jail.

However, when a trooper went around to the passenger side to open the suspect’s door, the man had unbuckled himself and fled once again, Hughes said. The man would not respond to verbal commands, so a trooper deployed a Taser and then was able to take him into custody.

A 39-year-old man with an address in Kansas City, Mo., was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, fleeing or attempting to elude, interference with law enforcement and driving with a suspended license at 8:10 a.m. from the location off of I-70, the jail booking log shows.

He was being held on $5,250 cash or surety bond as of Tuesday evening. He also has holds from Jackson and Clay counties in Missouri.

“He was one you don’t want out on the road,” Hughes said. “That’s what we’re doing is taking them felons off the road.”

No one was injured, Hughes said.

Hughes said he wasn’t sure whether the passenger was also arrested. The booking log shows that a 37-year-old man with an address in Kansas City, Kan., was arrested in that area of the highway on suspicion of interference with law enforcement at 7:35 a.m. Tuesday. He was being held on $1,000 cash or surety bond.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies assisted with the pursuit and water rescue, Public Information Officer Jenn Hethcoat said via email.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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