Olathe man charged following police chase on downtown airport runway

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Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 10:59 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - After leading police on a chase down an airport runway, a Johnson County man is facing federal charges.

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that 34-year-old Efren Torres-Rodriguez of Olathe, Kansas has been indicted on four federal charges: damaging and interfering with an air navigation facility, damaging and disrupting an international airport, being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm, and possession of methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Torres-Rodriguez was found asleep behind the wheel of his running car near a gate at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in February. When police found him, they turned off the car and opened the door, which woke up Torres-Rodriguez. He then started the vehicle and fled from police, crashing through a gate and onto the airfield.

Torres-Rodriguez led police through the airfield and onto the runway, driving at speed up to 100 miles per hour. He then attempted to cross over the airstrip into a grassy area where his car became inoperable. Officers pulled him from the vehicle and placed him under arrest, finding a plastic bag in his pants containing methamphetamine.

When officers searched the vehicle, they found an unloaded Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine. They also found several rounds of ammunition and drug paraphernalia. Torres-Rodriguez has prior felony convictions, including robbery and felon is possession of a firearm.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department and the FBI.