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Chase ends with Hesston patrol vehicle in flames

Published: Jan. 26, 2017 at 2:31 PM CST
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Heat from the exhaust of a Hesston Police Department patrol car sparks a fire underneath.

It happened during a chase that ended on the interstate in Harvey County thursday.

Hesston Police Sergeant Chris Carter is catching some heat from fellow officers, after the patrol car he was driving caught fire.

"I believed it was the suspect vehicle, because I knew it had crashed, and I'm looking at the vehicle and seeing no fire, then about 100 yards to the south I look and see that it's my vehicle."

Carter joined the a high speed chase, as officers were trying to stop the man driving the stolen car. At one point, dash cam video shows the man using the stolen car to force other patrol units off the road. "I believe speeds were 110 to 115 miles per hour, maybe."

The sergeant said he can laugh about what happened now, because he knows how dangerous the situation could have been.

"You know, it's unfortunate that that happens. it's not convenient for us, it's not convenient for the city, it's not convenient for the police department," he said. "We're out a lot of equipment, and we're down a patrol car, but at the end of the day, it's property, it's not a life."

Hesston is a relatively small department, with seven police officers. The department had three marked patrol units and are now down to two. The police chief says he is working on getting a new patrol unit, but doesn't know when that will happen.

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A Hesston patrol vehicle catches fire during a police chase Thursday afternoon.

It happened around 1 p.m. on I-135.

The chase started when Newton police tried to stop a vehicle driven by a man who had reportedly stolen fuel from a gas station.

The vehicle led police on a chase reaching speeds over 100 mph.

Officers say the driver swerved at and intentionally ran them off the road.

The vehicle crashed on I-135 at mile marker 45 and the driver ran from the vehicle.

Officers arrested him a short time later.

A Hesston patrol vehicle also caught fire. The driver was not hurt.

The suspect was transported for medical evaluation.

The driver told police he is a parole absconder from another state and had stolen the vehicle. He will be booked for three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, pending review of potential attempted murder of a law enforcement officer charges by the County Attorney's Office.

High Speed Chase 01-26-2017 NPD

Dash cam highlights from today's high speed car chase (vehicle speeds were well in excess of 100 mph). The subject who was taken into custody was wanted as an escapee from Colorado, was in a stolen vehicle, and made comments that he was facing significant prison time and had nothing to lose. On two separate occasions he crossed left of center to go head on with marked patrol units forcing them into the ditch. He also rammed an unsuspecting motorist who fortunately wasn't more seriously harmed. Our community is so very fortunate someone did not lose their life today. We ant to thank all of the area police and Fire/EMS personnel who responded . The teamwork in this area is amazing!

Posted by Newton, KS Police Department on Thursday, January 26, 2017

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