Two people were arrested Friday following a 40-mile car chase that ended when law enforcement officers pinned the suspect’s vehicle against a bridge guardrail on the southeast edge of Iola.
Allen County sheriff’s deputies said Jesse G.H. Smith, 30, Oak Grove, Mo., led officers from U.S. 69, eventually reaching downtown Iola.
The chase began when a Bourbon County sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop a Pontiac G6, driven by Smith. He reportedly had been clocked at driving 94 mph north of Fort Scott.
Rather than stopping, Smith led the deputy westbound, eventually going through Bronson and into Allen County.
As the chase entered Allen County, Moran Police Chief Shane Smith was waiting. He laid out a line of spikes, blowing two of the tires on the suspect’s vehicle.
Still, he did not stop.
As the chase continued west, Allen County Sheriff’s Deputy Daren Kellerman then deployed another line of spikes, blowing out a third tire, near the intersection of 54 and 2800 Street, just east of LaHarpe..
“If you want to see where the chase went, just follow the white marks,” Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy said. With three tires blown, the rubber long had been shredded away, leaving only rims, leaving a trail of scuff marks along several paved Iola streets.
The car emitted a shower of sparks and dust as it barrelled through Iola, at speeds of up to 45 mph.
Smith made it to the courthouse square in downtown Iola before heading north on Jefferson Avenue and into Highland Cemetery.
“The Sheriff’s and Police Chief (Jared Warner’s) sole concern from there was to force him back out of town, to keep everybody safe,” Kellerman said.
As officers unsuccessfully tried to corner his vehicle in the cemetery, Smith made it back out onto Jefferson, zig-zagging south and east through the Meadowbrook residential area and eventually making it onto Kentucky Street, and then south onto Nevada Road.
Even then, as a caravan of officers had Smith’s car surrounded, he still did all he could to evade arrest, the sheriff said, including attempting to strike the pursuing vehicles.
He struck at least one of the pursuing vehicles, Murphy said. “And he tried to get me a couple of times.”
The chase ended as officers forced the Pontiac to stop alongside a guardrail to the Rock Creek bridge.
“We kept making the path narrower for him until he had to stop,” Murphy said.
Still, Smith did not give up easily.
With at least six officers outside the car, guns drawn, Smith refused to exit the vehicle, and even still had his foot fully depressed on the accelerator, kicking up dirt and rocks behind the stopped vehicle, Murphy said.
The sheriff used a baton to break open the driver’s window, and then reached in and put the car in park, although Smith continued to resist arrest, Murphy said.
“We had to extract him forcefully,” he said, including use of a Taser.
A female passenger, Anya G. Sackett, 25, Topeka, also was taken into custody, but did not resist arrest.
The vehicle reportedly was hers, deputies said.
Deputies said they planned to request charges of aggravated battery on law enforcement, two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer, three counts of felony fleeing and attempting to elude, possession of methamphetamine, felony interference with law enforcement, not having liability insurance and driving with a revoked license.
“I’m sure Bourbon County has charges for him, too,” Murphy said.
Smith reportedly had recently been released from prison.
Deputies are requesting charges of felony interfering with law enforcement and filing a false report be filed against Sackett.
An ambulance was dispatched to the scene after the chase ended, but was not needed, Murphy said.
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