Crime & Courts

Bicyclist fleeing Wichita police injured when cop car hits back of bike, KHP says

A Wichita man was arrested and taken to a hospital after a police officer “bumped” into the back of his bike during a chase, officials said.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said in a crash report that Derek M. Johnson was “viewed as a possible suspect in a domestic violence situation” when he was spotted riding a bicycle early Sunday morning.

Johnson was riding the bike near Pawnee and McLean at around 1 a.m. when Brett T. Pearce, driving a 2019 Dodge Charger, attempted to stop him. State troopers wrote in the crash report that the bicycle rider failed to yield and turned south on McLean as the Charger pursued with emergency lights on.

Wichita police spokesman Officer Charley Davidson said a two-officer unit was in the area searching for a suspect in an aggravated assault-domestic violence case who was reported to be riding a bicycle. The bike rider they saw matched the description of the suspect, though police later determined he was not involved in that case.

During the police pursuit, the bicycle rider moved onto a sidewalk, and the Charger followed, the highway patrol crash report states. The bicycle then “slowed suddenly causing (the Charger) to hit the rear of the bicycle. The impact caused the bicycle to tip over and pedestrian fell to the ground.”

Davidson said that the patrol car “bumped” the bicycle after Johnson “abruptly stopped.” The highway patrol crash report states that Johnson, 23, of Wichita, was complaining of pain and taken to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis. Johnson was booked into jail after being treated at the hospital, police said.

The crash report states that Pearce, 30, of Valley Center, and his passenger, Austin M. Smith, 22, of Wichita, were not hurt.

“The WPD requested the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) to investigate the accident to provide transparency and avoid conflicts of interest,” Davidson said. “An internal review will be done by the WPD, which is standard protocol in accidents involving police vehicles.”

Police investigators determined that Johnson was not involved in the domestic violence case, Davidson said, but he was arrested on suspicion of flee and elude, possession of methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant. Sedgwick County Jail records show Johnson was booked at around 3:33 a.m.

Kansas Department of Corrections records show he was convicted of a 2018 burglary, and he was listed as an absconder from community corrections May 28.

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