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Man goes on forklift joyride at south Wichita business, injures employee

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 7:52 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 12:21 p.m.

Police are looking for a man who broke into a south Wichita business, took a joyride on a forklift and ran over one of its employees at approximately 1:50 a.m. Tuesday.

The man pried open a chain-link fence and gained entry to Bodycote Thermal Processing, 1618 S. Ida, near Harry, through an open garage door, police said Tuesday.

After the three employees on-site came back from a break, they noticed the man sitting on a forklift inside the business. When they asked him to leave, he started driving the forklift around the warehouse, intentionally running into things, police said.

One of the three got close to the forklift operator, who then put the vehicle in reverse and pinned the employee against a metal grate. The employee suffered a large laceration to his leg, from knee to ankle, as well as a broken leg bone, police said.

The man then took off, fleeing the scene on foot.

The employee, 44, was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where he is in fair condition, police said Tuesday.

The man did not speak throughout the encounter, said Wichita police Lt. Doug Nolte, and no one was close enough to determine if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He had no previous ties to the business or its employees, police said.

Surveillance video will be used to help identify the man, Nolte said.

Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle

Reach Matt Riedl at 316-269-6791 or mriedl@wichitaeagle.com.

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