Crime & Courts

Wichita police chase ends when van hits tree, injuring passenger

A street sign and tree are damaged at Washington and Skinner in south Wichita after a van being chased by police jumped the curb and hit the tree.
A street sign and tree are damaged at Washington and Skinner in south Wichita after a van being chased by police jumped the curb and hit the tree. The Wichita Eagle

A brief police chase ended early Friday when a van carrying suspects hit a tree in south Wichita, seriously injuring a passenger, police said.

Within a half hour of the crash, police caught the 36-year-old man suspected of driving the van after he went into a business and a home, police Lt. Joe Schroeder said.

According to Sedgwick County dispatchers, Wichita police began pursuing a white van at 4:34 a.m. Friday near a Wal-Mart store at Pawnee and Santa Fe. The van was headed north on Washington when it lost control and hit a tree at Washington and Skinner at 4:36 a.m., the dispatcher said. One man in his 40s was transported in fair condition to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis.

Schroeder gave this account:

The incident began behind the Wal-Mart when an off-duty officer doing security work in the area saw someone breaking into a vehicle. The suspects left in a white van from a parking lot near Pawnee and Santa Fe, and the van reached speeds of up to 50 mph.

The chase lasted about a minute, Schroeder said. It ended when the van veered into the tree and the driver fled on foot.

The passenger, who suffered a possible leg fracture, had to be extricated from the van.

Officers pursuing the fleeing driver found him after he had gone without permission into a residence in the 1900 block of South Santa Fe and taken some items. The suspect also had run into a business in the 1800 block of South Mead and taken property, Schroeder said.

The man arrested is an absconder from the Sedgwick County community corrections program and is being booked into jail on suspicion of multiple charges including DUI and aggravated battery, Schroeder said.

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com.

  Comments