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Search shifts gears for man who jumped into pond to escape police

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, March 8, 2013, at 7:52 a.m.
  • Updated Friday, March 8, 2013, at 9:13 p.m.

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Police have halted their search of a south Wichita pond for a man who jumped into the water early Friday morning as he fled pursuing law enforcement officers.

“We’re through down there for the time being,” Capt. Max Tenbrook said, adding no body was found by search and rescue teams.

The search continues elsewhere for the 28-year-old man, Tenbrook said.

He had not yet been located as of 9 p.m. Friday, Wichita police Lt. Chris Halloran said, adding: “We have not been told by family and friends that he has shown up.”

Halloran said the fire department plans to comb the pond again in a few days if the man remains missing.

The incident began shortly after 2 a.m. Friday when an officer attempted to pull over a gray Dodge Charger in the 3100 block of South Hiram because of traffic violations. That’s northeast of 31st and Meridian.

The driver sped east and then south, driving through a fence and leaving the road at Gold and 35th Street South, Lt. Doug Nolte said.

“They weren’t sure if he went into the water to swim away or if he ran around” the pond, Nolte said. “There was concern that the individual was in the water trying to swim away.”

A Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said Friday morning that as law enforcement officers were searching “they heard somebody yell, ‘Help!’ from the middle of the lake.”

A search and rescue effort that included a boat was called off at 4:15 a.m. The search resumed with daylight.

The 28-year-old driver of the Charger, who is the person missing, was wanted on a probation violation, Nolte said. Two passengers in the car were questioned but weren’t taken into custody, he said.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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