Two dead after police chase of stolen pickup leads to head-on crash near Derby

Eduardo Castillo/The Wichita Eagle

A police chase of a stolen pickup led to the deaths of two people Sunday afternoon, when their car was hit by the fleeing truck shortly after police decided to call off the pursuit,

The crash killed a 19-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, whose car was hit head-on by the fleeing vehicle, said Andover Police Chief Buck Buchanan. The relationship between the victims was not immediately known.

The suspected thief, age 19, was hospitalized with minor injuries, Buchanan said.

Buchanan did not identify the suspect or the victims. He said all were from the Sedgwick/Butler county area.

The crash occurred shortly before 3 p.m. at the intersection of 63rd St. South and 103rd St. East, just east of Derby.

It was about 15 minutes after Andover police received a call that a truck had been stolen from a Dollar General store there.

Shortly after the call, an officer spotted a silver pickup matching the description of the stolen vehicle at Kellogg and Andover Road, and attempted to make a traffic stop, Buchanan said.

The driver did not stop, and officers from Andover and the Kansas Highway Patrol gave chase.

The suspect driver fled south on Greenwich Road, ultimately turning onto 63rd Street South. During the pursuit, the truck hit a guard rail, losing part of a tire, but continued traveling west toward Derby, Buchanan said.

Officers pursued the truck for about seven minutes, but decided to call of the pursuit when traffic thickened. “Sixty-third Street gets pretty heavy with traffic, so that’s when we decided we’re done,” Buchanan said.

The truck ultimately crossed the center line, sideswiped a vehicle and then hit the deceased victims’ car head-on.

The driver of the sideswiped car was uninjured and able to drive away.

The theft suspect remained in police custody late Sunday.

“At this time we have met and spoke with Butler and Sedgwick county attorneys and are deciding what charges will be pending,” Buchanan said.

Investigators found that the truck had been stolen from a woman who had given the suspect a ride. The truck was taken after she stopped and went inside the Dollar General.

“This lady had given this individual a ride from Towanda . . . just trying to be a good Samaritan,” Buchanan said. “This person took advantage of her and stole her truck.”