LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — A police pursuit that ended in tragedy Monday began when a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper spotted an expired registration tag on a Chevrolet Tahoe on Interstate 70 near the Legends Outlets.
“At the time of the pursuit, we didn’t know his identity, no, but it’s obvious that he’s not fleeing for what we see on the surface of it,” said Lt. John Lehnherr, a Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman.
The driver of the Tahoe, 29-year-old Anthony Dorsey, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement. According to a crash report, Dorsey made a U-turn at the toll plaza and drove the wrong way before slamming into 19-year-old Nathan Pena's car. The Brookfield, Illinois, teen died from his injuries.
Troopers said at times, the chase reached speeds of up to 100 mph. According to Lehnherr, the highway patrol had resources available during the pursuit, including spike strips just ahead of the crash scene and an air support unit, which was en route when the crash occurred.
"We have to understand that this is not an outcome that the trooper would have wanted. This is not an outcome that the trooper is pleased about," said John Hamilton, a a Park University criminal justice professor and retired member of the Kansas City Police Department, who reviewed the Kansas Highway Patrol’s pursuit policy with 41 Action News.
"I really think it is pretty standard for most agencies, and usually the balancing factor is looking at what the offense that the officer knows about and is chasing for and then balancing that with what is the danger to the public," Hamilton said.
Law enforcement later learned Dorsey was wanted on several warrants, including a felony parole violation for aggravated robbery in Johnson County.
"I don’t know you could ever anticipate what happened yesterday,” Hamilton said. “To say that an individual, instead of trying to go on through, would have actually made a U-turn and come back into oncoming traffic, I think that was probably a big surprise to everyone."
Dorsey, who suffered a minor injury, attempted to run from troopers after the crash.