KCKPD suspends pursuit policy after fatal crash

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - KCK Police have temporarily suspended police pursuits after a young girl was killed Wednesday night by a man fleeing a violation traffic stop.

Interim Police Chief Ellen Hanson made the announcement during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Jasmine Rodriguez, a second-grader at Welborn Elementary School, died Wednesday night after a vehicle ran a red light and slammed into the van carrying her near 63rd Street and Leavenworth Road.

Police arrested a 27-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man. He is being held in the Wyandotte County jail awaiting charges. According to police, the officer pulled the driver over for a seatbelt violation and noticed suspicious behavior. After further questioning, the driver drove off.  The driver ran back to his car and followed.

According to the KCK Police, the department has initiated 2,614 pursuits from 2007 to 2013. Four of those incidents resulted in deaths; two citizens and two suspects.

According to Hanson, 60 percent of police pursuits since 2007 followed traffic stop. During the suspension, police can only pursue if a violent criminal is at the wheel.

Wednesday’s fatal crash was the second this year involving a driver attempting to flee from Kansas City, Kan., police. In February, 62-year-old Graciela Olivas was killed when her car was involved in a collision at 34th Street and Shawnee Drive.

Hanson said that she did not know how long the policy review would take but that results would be made public when it was completed.

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