Crime & Courts

Teen was driving stolen car involved in chase, collision

A person is wheeled to an ambulance after the car they were driving was involved in a collision at Douglas and Oliver shortly before midnight Wednesday.  The collision occurred while law enforcement officers were chasing a person driving a stolen car. A child was also in this car and was not injured.
A person is wheeled to an ambulance after the car they were driving was involved in a collision at Douglas and Oliver shortly before midnight Wednesday. The collision occurred while law enforcement officers were chasing a person driving a stolen car. A child was also in this car and was not injured. The Wichita Eagle

The teenage driver of a stolen Mustang may have reached speeds of 80 miles an hour before he ran a red light at Douglas and Oliver and slammed into another car, authorities said Thursday.

The Mustang hit a Mitsubishi passenger car's right front end just before 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, spun 180 degrees into a light pole, then spun again and hit a tree, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The force of the impact knocked the Mitsubishi into a Mazda next to it as the two cars were driving east through the intersection.

The 18-year-old driver of the stolen car is in serious condition at Wesley Medical Center. The 33-year-old Wichita man who was driving the Mitsubishi was taken to Wesley for treatment and released a few hours later.

A 7-month-old boy in a child safety seat in the Mitsubishi was unharmed, authorities said.

Neither the 22-year-old Peck man who was a passenger in the stolen car nor the 40-year-old woman driving the third car were hurt, according to the Highway Patrol.

Two Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office patrol cars were pursuing the Mustang at the time of the crash, Lt. Dave Mattingly said, but the closest officer was perhaps a half-mile away when the fleeing car crashed.

A deputy had recognized the Mustang as stolen and pulled it over near Lincoln and Oliver at about 11:37 p.m., Mattingly said. When the deputy ordered the driver via his loudspeaker to get out of the car, the driver sped off, going north on Oliver.

The deputy pursued him with lights and sirens activated, and a second patrol joined the pursuit.

Alerted to the chase, three other deputies tried to position spike strips to deflate the Mustang's tires, Mattingly said, but they didn't have enough time.

"I don't have anything that indicates they violated policy," Mattingly said of the pursuing deputies. "In general, our policy simply states that if someone leads us on a chase, we need to evaluate what we know about why we're chasing the vehicle and weigh what risks there are.

"In these short pursuits, you don't have a lot of time to do that."

The chase lasted less than a minute, he said.

Mattingly said investigators are collecting and reviewing video from the patrol cars. They're also looking to see whether evidence supports the unofficial estimates of the Mustang's speed during the chase.

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