Crime & Courts

Officer had hand on stolen vehicle moments before driver tried to run him over, police say

Wichita police investigate stolen car, chase

Wichita police tried to stop a stolen Jeep in the McDonald’s drive-thru at 21st and Amidon around 9:45 a.m. when the driver tried to ram police, causing officers to open fire. The Jeep then led officers on a chase.
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Wichita police tried to stop a stolen Jeep in the McDonald’s drive-thru at 21st and Amidon around 9:45 a.m. when the driver tried to ram police, causing officers to open fire. The Jeep then led officers on a chase.

A photo from a Wichita officer’s body cam showed the officer had his hand on the front of a stolen vehicle moments before the driver tried to run him over, causing him to open fire.

The officer fired three shots, hitting two suspects who are still in the hospital but expected to recover.

On Wednesday, officers released the names of two of the three suspects. Both are wanted in Nebraska.

Police also provided more details in the case that started on Tuesday when officers went to stop a stolen Jeep leaving the drive-through of McDonald’s at 2261 N. Amidon. Officer Paul Cruz said the white 1999 Jeep had been reported stolen from the 1400 block of West Murdock at around 8 a.m.

The vehicle could have been stolen overnight, Cruz said.

The owner and a family member spotted the vehicle and followed, giving updates to officers. At around 10:30 a.m., an officer used his vehicle to try to pin in the stolen vehicle and keep it from driving off.

Officers moved in from the front and side and commanded the suspects to come out. That’s when police said the 26-year-old male driver reversed and then went back into drive headed at the officer.

The officer, who has been in law enforcement for 20 months, fired three times. The officer has been put on administrative leave, per department policy.

The driver was able to get by the police vehicle and ran into the back of a white Buick Century driven by a 72-year-old woman before leaving the parking lot. The woman was taken to the hospital but has since been released, Cruz said.

The chase continued north on Amidon. The driver turned into a residential neighborhood. In the 3000 block of North Halstead, the driver hit a parked vehicle and took out a utility pole before coming to a stop against a tree just north of 29th and Halstead, Cruz said. He added the accident may have disabled the Jeep.

Daphne Dawn Hays, 30, was arrested shortly after the Jeep stopped while two men fled on foot. Hays was arrested on suspicion of interference and obstruction and on a warrant from Madison County, Nebraska. The warrant was issued Aug. 16 after Hays failed to appear on an aiding consummation of a felony case, court records show.

Zachary Ausdemore, 30, a passenger in the Jeep, ran to the 2400 block of North Stauffer and threatened an elderly man and woman at their home until they gave him the keys to a Honda CR-V, police said.

A Sedgwick County deputy headed south on I-235 near Meridian spotted the green SUV. The deputy pursued the driver, who traveled in excess of 100 mph and went into oncoming traffic during the chase, Sheriff Jeff Easter said.

The suspect left the road to avoid a vehicle barricade and got stuck in a “shallow pond” around 167th and K-42. Cruz said the suspect ran but was arrested shortly after with a gunshot wound to his arm.

Ausdemore was arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery and on warrants from Madison County, Nebraska, based on two burglary charges and on a probation violation after issuing bad checks, court records show. Both cases are felonies.

The final suspect was taken into custody at around 3 p.m. roughly a block from where the Jeep stopped. Cruz said he had a gunshot wound in the leg and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

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