Crime & Courts

Man suspected of running over officer charged with aggravated battery

Justin F. Terrazas, 31, is suspected of running over Wichita police Officer Brian Arterburn on Tuesday afternoon at Topeka and Kincaid.
Justin F. Terrazas, 31, is suspected of running over Wichita police Officer Brian Arterburn on Tuesday afternoon at Topeka and Kincaid. Courtesy photo

Prosecutors charged the man suspected of running over Wichita police Officer Brian Arterburn during a pursuit with aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer.

Justin F. Terrazas, 31, made his first appearance Friday in Sedgwick County District Court on that count and other crimes connected to injuries Arterburn sustained Tuesday when he was struck by a fleeing, stolen 2016 black Chevrolet Tahoe.

The Wichita Police Department told The Eagle that Arterburn was using a tire-deflation device when he was hit shortly after 1 p.m. at Topeka and Kinkaid.

The aggravated battery count against Terrazas alleges he “unlawfully and knowingly cause(d) bodily harm” to Arterburn with the Tahoe while Arterburn was in uniform, identified as a police officer and on duty.

Arterburn, a 25-year veteran of the Wichita Police Department, remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday, Sgt. Nikki Woodrow said. He underwent surgery Tuesday.

The other charges Terrazas is facing connected to Tuesday’s events are:

▪ Failure to stop at an accident that resulted in great bodily harm.

▪ Fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement “when given a visual or audible signal” to stop.

▪ Possession of marijuana.

▪ Possession of about 60 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

All except the marijuana possession count are felonies. Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor.

He is next due in court Feb. 23 and told District Judge Faith Maughan he wanted a court-appointed lawyer.

Terrazas was arrested and jailed Tuesday on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of theft connected to a 2016 black Tahoe stolen from Eddy’s Chevrolet Cadillac at 8801 E. Kellogg and stolen dealer tags, according to police records.

The charges filed against Terrazas came after prosecutors met Friday morning with Wichita police investigating the case.

“The charging decision was made after meeting with detectives and reviewing all the evidence,” Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a text message. He did not comment further.

In Kansas, a conviction of aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer carries the same penalty as an attempted first-degree murder conviction.

Prosecutors also charged Terrazas in a second criminal case on Friday alleging that he possessed and intended to distribute meth, used a communication facility for drug sales or purchases, possessed digital scale and marijuana, and fled or tried to elude police six days before Arterburn was run over.

He remains in jail in lieu of bonds totaling $550,000 in the two cases.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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