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Sedgwick County sheriff: Deputy followed guidelines in chase before three-vehicle collision

One person remains in critical condition and at least two others are still hospitalized the morning after a three-vehicle collision that occurred as a driver fled a Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputy.

The collision occurred just before 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pawnee and Oliver, about two minutes after the deputy called off the pursuit, authorities said.

A deputy in uniform was sitting in an unmarked car in the 600 block of South Broadview watching for a person wanted on two felony meth possession warrants, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said Wednesday.

At 6:55 p.m. Tuesday, the deputy saw someone matching the description of the wanted person get into a silver Honda Accord and leave. The deputy, who was in an unmarked car equipped with lights and sirens, used the flashing lights to pull over the Accord.

The driver of the Accord stopped, but when the deputy reached the driver’s window and asked him to step out, the Accord sped away. The deputy pursued the fleeing Accord, with lights and sirens activated, but he alerted 911 at 6:57 p.m. that he had lost it at Lincoln and Oliver and was halting the chase.

The pursuit lasted about a minute, Easter said.

The Accord was going an estimated 100 miles an hour south on Oliver and tried to turn left at Pawnee when it collided with two vehicles going east on Pawnee at 6:59 p.m., according to Easter and a police document.

The driver of the fleeing car is in fair condition at Wesley Medical Center. He will be booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on numerous suspected crimes once he is released from the hospital, Easter said.

A woman who was a passenger in the fleeing car is in critical condition at Wesley. The man driving the car struck by the fleeing Accord is in fair condition. The driver of a pickup hit by the Accord has since been released from the hospital, police said.

Easter said the deputy followed department policy in his handling of the chase. Car pursuits are hazardous for everyone, he said, “but this man made the decision” to flee and risk the lives of others.

“This person chose to do this,” Easter said. “We didn’t — they did.”

Weather can be a factor in calling off a chase, Easter said, noting that the deputy called off the pursuit after he lost sight of the Accord. Light mist was falling at the time, National Weather Service meteorologist Jaclyn Ritzman said.

“There definitely could have still been some freezing drizzle going around” at the time of the collision, Ritzman said.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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