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Kid leads cops on 4-county, 110 mph chase

Staff writer

A 17-year-old Hillsboro boy driving a truck stolen in that town led deputies from Marion, Harvey, McPherson, and Rice counties on a chase that reached speeds of almost 110 mph and covered more than 100 miles last week.

All high-speed chases pose challenges — and risks — but ones criss-crossing multiple counties are particularly troublesome, area sheriff’s deputies say.

The chase started when a Harvey County deputy spotted a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado stolen late March 14 from the 700 block of Washington St. in Hillsboro. A shotgun had been left in the truck — posing even more risk.

“Information was put out about a stolen vehicle and to be on the lookout,” Harvey County sheriff’s Capt. Brandon Huntley said. “One of our deputies noticed the vehicle committing a traffic infraction between Newton and Hesston and initiated a traffic stop.”

When the driver didn’t stop, a chase ensued.

The truck turned north on K-15. Marion County deputies set up tire-deflating spike strips eastbound and westbound on US-56 at its K-15 junction.

The truck didn’t turn, however, and continued north on Bison Rd., then west on 250th Rd. with Harvey and Marion County deputies in pursuit, according to monitored transmissions.

Reaching a dead end at I-135 in McPherson County, the truck took off across a field and entered the interstate northbound, losing Marion County deputies.

Other law enforcement officers continued, following the truck north to near Lindsborg before it reversed course and headed back to McPherson.

Marion County deputies set up spike strips at the US-56 junction with I-135 on McPherson’s eastern edge, but the truck proceeded west, through downtown McPherson on Kansas St.

Deputies from Rice County joined the chase, and spike strips were set up between Little River and Lyons.

At that point, the truck’s two front tires were flat, and a rear tire was leaking. Huntley said the truck also may have been out of fuel.

“That thing held up well,” he said.

Its driver and passenger fled on foot.

“It concluded just east of Lyons on US-56,” Huntley said.

By that time, it was about 1:30 a.m. March 15.

Harvey County deputies arrested Canton resident Riley Hicks, identified as the passenger, on suspicion of obstruction and possession of stolen property.

The 17-year-old was processed by juvenile intake officials, Huntley said. Information about his charges was not available because of his age.

Deputies took the gun for safekeeping, Huntley said.

Chases — such as this one across dirt roads and highways — are demanding, he said.

“You’re talking about coordination between agencies,” he said. “At several times during this, there were attempts to use tire deflation devices to immobilize the vehicle in a safe manner. The unpredictability of our suspect made that really difficult. There was a lot of time spent on dirt, and there was a lot of time spent on paved roads.”

Until eventually settling on a regional interoperability group set up for that purpose, deputies had to switch radio talk groups multiple times to communicate. That can be difficult when pursuing a vehicle at high speeds, Marion County Undersheriff Larry Starkey said.

“It’s hard to get somebody to stop if they don’t want to stop,” he said.

There’s “just a level of safety that’s jeopardized” in a chase, Huntley said.

“They’re inherently dangerous,” he said. “We don’t like them. We would prefer that they don’t happen.”

Last modified March 22, 2023

 

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