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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Missouri man arrested after early morning high-speed chase ends in Pratt County

  • A Missouri man, David Atherton, 21 of Carl Junction, Mo. was arrested in Pratt County after a high speed chase through three counties.
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  • A Missouri man is in custody in Harvey County following a three-county chase early on the morning of Feb. 15.
    David Atherton, 21 of Carl Junction, Mo. was arrested in Pratt County following the chase that reached speeds of 130 mph, said Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton.
    Atherton was arrested for fleeing or attempting to elude, reckless driving, aggravated weapons violation, possession of hallucinogenic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, several speeding tickets and fleeing or eluding a tire deflating device. He is currently held in the Harvey County Detention Center.
    At 2:42 a.m. on Feb. 15 Atherton was on U.S. 50 in Harvey County when he went past a Harvey County Deputy at a high rate of speed in a 2013 Dodge Dart. Harvey County Deputy Carman Clark gave pursuit but Atherton refused to stop and accelerated to a high rate of speed. Clark was unable to get a license number, Walton said.
    At that point, it was unknown why the suspect was fleeing which is a frequent sign the vehicle was stolen but without an ID on the license, it was unknown if the vehicle was stolen.
    The pursuit continued and at one point reached 130 mph as the chase went from Harvey County to Reno County and finally into Pratt County where Pratt County Sheriff Vernon Chinn and a Pratt County Deputy assisted the pursuit on K-61 where speeds still hit 120 mph.
    Walton said they were on the verge of calling the pursuit off when it entered Pratt County but stayed with it when Pratt County officers got involved.
    A pair of stop sticks was successfully seven miles from Pratt and then again at four miles from Pratt, said Pratt County Sheriff Vernon Chinn.
    A Pratt County Sheriff's unit forced the vehicle off the road and Chinn slid across the Dart's hood with a loaded shotgun and the officers took Atherton into custody. The vehicle was not stolen and he was not under the influence, Walton said.
    Chinn said he didn't know how he slid across the hood but he just did it because the situation was dangerous and it needed to come to an end.
    "I can't praise Sheriff Chinn and his deputy enough for their assistance. That's a long way out of Harvey County to be running," Walton said. "They did a wonderful job."
    A 12-gauge shotgun was in the vehicle and Atherton is a convicted felon so it is illegal for him to have a gun in his possession. After the arrest, Atherton was extremely apologetic and said in Missouri when a deputy gets to a county line, they will stop, Walton said.
    No one was injured in the incident and the only damage was to the Dodge Dart.
    Page 2 of 2 - Atherton's passenger, Shawn Thompson, 23 of Joplin, Mo. was released with no charges after a search revealed no wants or warrants. A small dog in the vehicle was also not injured.

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