2 men arrested after high-speed car chase through Lawrence, crash

photo by: Journal-World File Photos

These Journal-World file photos show patrol vehicles for the Lawrence Police Department (top) and Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Local law enforcement officers arrested two men Wednesday afternoon after a high-speed car chase through Lawrence that ended in a crash.

Patrick Compton, a spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department, said officers arrested a 29-year-old male driver and a 30-year-old male passenger after the crash in southern Lawrence, near 31st Street and Kansas Highway 10.

Compton said the chase began around 2 p.m. Wednesday after LPD officers responded to a call for a domestic disturbance in the 1400 block of East 15th Street. When officers arrived, two men were leaving the scene in a vehicle. Officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver refused to stop, leading to the pursuit, Compton said. Deputies for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office then joined the pursuit to assist.

According to emergency radio traffic, the pursuit reached high speeds, traveling through central Lawrence before heading south of town. Compton said the pursuit reached speeds of at least 70 mph within Lawrence city limits.

During the pursuit, a sheriff’s deputy used a “tactical vehicle intervention” to stop the vehicle, which crashed into a ditch in the 1400 block of North 1300 Road, also known as 31st Street, near Kansas Highway 10, Deputy Charlie Cooper said in an email to the Journal-World. After the crash, the two men fled on foot but were apprehended.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of aggravated arson, aggravated assault and fleeing and eluding law enforcement. He was taken to the hospital after the incident, but did not have life-threatening injuries, Compton said. The passenger was arrested on suspicion of interference with a law enforcement officer.

Compton did not provide the names of the men involved because the original incident was a domestic situation. He said Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical was investigating the alleged arson.

No officers were injured in the pursuit, Compton said. He also said that LPD chose to continue the pursuit through town despite the high speeds.

“When we are conducting those pursuits, we make a decision to continue or terminate the pursuit based on the nature of the charges of the event that initiated the pursuit,” Compton said. “So in this case the decision was made by supervisors to continue the pursuit based on the (domestic disturbance) incident.”

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