A stolen vehicle in Parsons, Kan. last Wednesday was spotted in Pratt County on Dec. 20, and by the time it was over fields, dirt roads, CRP and rural highways were involved.
A massive vehicle chase that started in Labette County near Parsons, Kansas Wednesday night put Pratt County law enforcement on high alert Thursday, Dec. 20 when the stolen vehicle was spotted at 2:45 p.m. in Pratt County. Chad Crittenden, Technical Trooper and Public Information Director with the Kansas Highway Patrol, said the entire incident began when a 2004, red, Dodge Dakota pick-up was reported stolen by Dakota Demeritt, 24, in Labette County.
“Initially, we had reports that this was a stolen vehicle and a potential kidnapping case,” Crittenden said. “The suspect was already wanted for aggravated battery for ramming a Parson’s police department vehicle.”
Crittenden said KHP had a visual on the vehicle in Labette County, but then lost it. It wasn’t until Thursday at 2:45 p.m. that the chase picked up again, this time in Pratt County, when a trooped confirmed the vehicle, with both a male and female in it, were sighted west of Pratt.
“This chase then went across fields, through CRP, along county roads and on highways,” Crittenden said. “Speeds were all over the board, from 25 mph in fields, to 60, 70, 80 mph on dirt roads. We did have a report of the vehicle reaching 105 mph at one point.”
County law enforcement officers from Pratt, Kiowa, Edwards and Pawnee joined state troopers in the pursuit of the stolen vehicle before it was finally stopped in a field by legal intervention at I Road and the Arkansas River in Edwards County, near Kinsley.
“Legal intervention means an official vehicle was placed in the path of the fleeing driver and he hit that vehicle,” Crittenden said.
Demeritt was charged by KHP with possession of stolen property, felony flee and elude, and reckless driving. There may be additional charges from county sheriff departments involved in the massive chase and subsequent arrest.
“This was such a massive chase, involving four counties, so there is a lot of information to process at this point,” Crittenden said. “The driver must have gassed up the vehicle early on for him to be able to cover such a large area.”
Demeritt was arrested and taken to the Pratt County Jail where he remains on $200,000 bond. The girl with him has not been identified or arrested at this time.
Demeritt is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.