Innocent motorist killed by fleeing vehicle in east KC - KCTV5 News

Innocent motorist killed by fleeing vehicle in east KC

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One person is dead and his two passengers were seriously injured after a suspect fleeing police crashed into their vehicle.

The accident happened shortly after 10:30 a.m. near the intersection of East 23rd Street and Hardesty Avenue on the city's east side.

Investigators determined that a silver Saab had been heading west on 23rd Street after having been pursued by Independence police.

Police said the 22-year-old driver disregarded a red signal and struck a blue Chevrolet passenger car as it crossed the intersection. Authorities say the officer backed off a half-mile before the wreck happened.

"The subject was driving at too high a rate of speed, and so he decided to terminate the pursuit," Maj. Ken Jarnagin said.

That is a decision left up to the officer in any chase. Independence police say in this case the officer was trying to slow things down and avoid a tragic result.

"Once our officers terminate a pursuit, we can't control what that other person does at that point," Jarnagin said.

The driver of the Chevrolet, identified as 35-year-old Jason Lewis, of Kansas City, was pronounced dead at the scene.

His passengers, a 35-year-old woman, who was last listed in critical condition, and a 17-year-old girl, who was last listed in serious condition, were taken to area hospitals.

Following the collision, the driver of the Saab ran on foot but was apprehended.

"I came out here and saw the suspect running up 23rd Street. People were chasing him, the police were actually," neighbor Douglas Baltezore said.

When police caught up, neighbors helped them track the man down just a couple blocks away.

"They said they were going to bring out the dogs. I said they ain't going to need them. No sooner I said that, the dude just came out and just gave up," neighbor Bruce Adkins said. "I'm glad he's caught."

Police say the suspect is in custody with minor injuries.

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