By Jeff Fox
The driver of a car fleeing police slammed into another car at a busy Kansas City intersection Monday, killing one person and injuring another.
The driver of the speeding car ran off but was arrested.
Here is what Independence police say happened.
At 10:33 a.m., an officer saw a speeding vehicle with a lone driver at 23rd Street and Hall Road just west of Hill Park on the western edge of the city.
“This car passes through there at 75, almost strikes abother vehicle,” said IPD spokesman Tom Gentry.
The officer pursued, westward on 23rd Street, and clocked the driver at 75 mph in a 40 mph zone. The chase went into Kansas City. Over much of three-mile-plus path of the chase, there are few homes and only limited development right on 23rd Street, and the only stoplights are near Interstate 435, which 23rd passes under.
At 23rd and Wheeling, on Kansas City’s east side near Blue Valley Park and Rogers Elementary School, the officer broke off the chase. West of that point, there are more houses, and there’s the crest of a hill after which a westbound driver suddenly finds himself coming up on a stoplight at Hardesty, often a busy intersection.
That’s where a southbound car was passing through and was struck by the driver fleeing police. That’s about four blocks west of where the officer had ended the chase.
The driver who had been chased ran off, but, with the aid of witnesses, Kansas City police captured him.
The driver of the car that was struck was killed. Injuries to the passenger in the car were reported to be serious.
Independence police have a pursuit policy that calls on officers to “exercise due regard for the safety of all persons.” They are to use alternatives to pursuits when possible and, during a chase, they are trained to continually judge whether the seriousness of criminal activity involved is worth the risk of pursuit above the speed limit.
“It is restrictive,” Gentry said of the policy.