Crime & Courts

Condition of injured Wichita officer improves, police say

Police and sheriff’s officers investigate the scene at Kinkaid and Topeka on Tuesday afternoon after an officer was struck by a car driven by a felony suspect. (Feb. 7, 2017)
Police and sheriff’s officers investigate the scene at Kinkaid and Topeka on Tuesday afternoon after an officer was struck by a car driven by a felony suspect. (Feb. 7, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

A Wichita police officer injured Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, when he was run over by a fleeing suspect, is still hospitalized and a suspect has been booked on attempted first degree murder charges. (Travis Heying/Feb. 8, 2017)

The condition of a Wichita police officer injured in a hit-and-run Tuesday has improved, according to the department.

Deputy chief Troy Livingston said Wednesday morning that the officer – who has not been identified – remains in critical condition.

“He’s doing a lot better than (Tuesday),” Livingston said. “He has a lot of injuries to overcome.”

Becoming choked up at times while addressing the media during Wednesday’s normal briefing, Livingston said police are not releasing additional details about the incident, which happened early Tuesday afternoon.

The injured officer, a 25-year veteran of the force, was struck near the intersection of Topeka and Kinkaid shortly after 1 p.m., officials said.

Police investigate a report of an officer down near Kinkaid and Topeka on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (Video by Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle)

He was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where he underwent surgery.

According to a daily booking log, Justin F. Terrazas, 31, was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of attempted intentional and premeditated first-degree murder, along with two theft charges connected to a stolen vehicle and stolen dealer tags.

On Tuesday, police reported that a 31-year-old man had been taken into custody in relation to the hit-and-run. Citing an ongoing investigation, Livingston did not talk about the suspect or field further questions about the case.

Livingston called a number of residents who helped in the arrest of the suspect “heroes,” adding that he spoke with other officers about the situation Wednesday morning.

“It’s been pretty tough on the officers who had to come into work today,” Livingston said. “I think they’re in about as good of spirits as they could possibly be.”

Police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow said in a tweet that those wanting to send donations on the injured officer’s behalf can do so by mailing them to the local Honore Adversis Foundation, 477 N. Seneca, Wichita, KS 67203.

The injured officer was investigating a stolen vehicle and a suspect who had active felony warrants in the 2100 block of South Topeka when the incident unfolded. After the officer was struck, a second officer fired a shot at the fleeing vehicle, said deputy police chief Jose Salcido on Tuesday.

Police widen the crime scene near Kinkaid and Topeka where an officer was hit by a car Tuesday afternoon. (Feb. 7, 2017)

According to police records, one of the charges Terrazas was arrested on suspicion of was an auto theft connected to a 2016 black Chevrolet Tahoe that was reported taken from Eddy’s Chevrolet Cadillac at 8801 E. Kellogg.

Court and Kansas Department of Corrections records show Terrazas — who also goes by the nickname “Money” — has a lengthy criminal history. In January 2015, a Sedgwick County judge ordered him to serve 29 months in prison and six months in jail for a 2014 burglary and misdemeanor theft in Wichita. That sentence expired in December, according to KDOC.

Terrazas also has misdemeanor convictions for driving on a suspended license, not having a tax stamp, possession of drug paraphernalia, trafficking contraband into a correctional facility and not carrying proof of auto insurance, as well as for theft when he was a juvenile, according to court records.

In 2001, when he was 15, Terrazas was convicted in Harvey County of aggravated indecent liberties for fondling a child and of aggravated criminal sodomy with a child younger than 14 years of age.

Terrazas had more than 50 disciplinary reports while he was in Kansas Department of Corrections facilities from 2007 through Dec. 5, according to records. They include insubordination, having dangerous contraband, falsifying documents, lying, fighting and battery.

Continue to check back to Kansas.com as more information becomes available on this developing story.

At the corner of Santa Fe and Pawnee in Wichita, Kansas. Wichita police Officer Brian Arterburn was run over by a stolen and fleeing SUV. (Feb. 7, 2017)

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