Was policy followed in Wednesday's fatal police chase?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An innocent man is still in the hospital after being hit head-on by a chase suspect's car Wednesday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Missouri Highway Patrol, Collin Stosberg, also said new data has been released from the cars' event data boxes. The suspect was traveling 75 mph and the victim was going 61 mph one second before the crash. The victim was the only one wearing his seat belt.

A friend close to the family of 38-year-old Benjamin Shively, father of four, said they asked for their privacy. He was transported from the scene Wednesday in critical condition, but the Missouri Highway Police said Thursday he is expected to survive.

Platte County Sheriff’s deputies said a call came in Wednesday to report that a stolen truck, a 2007 GMC Sierra, had been spotted in the Northland.

The vehicle, according to Platte County Sheriff Captain Erik Holland, was stolen June 18th along with several weapons including two pistols, one 22 long riffle and one shotgun.

When the deputy made a traffic stop, the suspect pulled over and then sped off, according to authorities. And deputies had information that the man may have had the weapons with him in the vehicle.

The chase, according to Holland, started near KCI at Mexico City Avenue, veered into Clay County and eventually ended when the suspect, Justin Burkholder, 35, hit Shively head-on while Burkholder was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of I-29.     

The decision of when to start a pursuit and when not to is a delicate process, according to Holland. Here is the Platte County Sheriff’s Department pursuit policy .

"Determining whether or not to continue to pursue is a very fact intensive evaluation that the deputies have to go through and it depends on what the person is being pursued for, actions they have taken during the pursuit, speeds that they are traveling at,” Holland said. "Officers constantly evaluate the need for continuing the pursuit versus foreseeable safety issues with the public."

Although the approximately 40 minute chase was initiated by Platte County Sheriff's Deputies, it was also in Kansas City Missouri's Police jurisdiction.

In a tweet Thursday, a KCMO spokesperson said the department helped block roadways and their helicopter assisted overhead.

A representative for the department told 41 Action News, "At no time were officers told not to assist," but they never said if KCMO officers specifically did or did not get involved in the pursuit.

According to the KCMO Police Department’s own chase policy , “When a pursuit enters another jurisdiction, the controlling commander/supervise will assess the situation and decide whether to continue or order the pursuit terminated.”

The Missouri Highway Patrol said they only assisted with their helicopter because it was in the area. They are the agency now investigating the crash.

Stosberg said the suspect, Burkholder, died at the scene.

The Platte County Sheriff's Office is investigating to ensure proper pursuit policy was followed and to find out if the stolen guns were in the stolen truck at the time of the crash.

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