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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Linn Valley police join other agencies to stop fleeing driver

A U-Haul truck driven by a Paola man trying to elude law officers was finally stopped on Thursday, March 2, as he drove north in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 69 (Linn Valley Police Department photo)

LINN VALLEY – A routine traffic stop of a U-Haul truck by the Linn Valley Police Department on Thursday, March 2, turned into a vehicle chase that went up into Miami County, across the state line to Drexel, Mo., back onto the Kansas side before the truck was stopped.

Linn Valley Police Chief Corey Murrison said that an officer tried to stop the truck on South Linn Drive at about 8:45 p.m. The driver, Justin Ewing of Paola, wouldn’t stop and led the police out of the city and onto Ullery Road, turning north and headed toward Miami County at speeds of up to 80 mph.

Murrison said that he had been working with the La Cygne Police Department on a related case and they were returning from Mound City. The officers were suspicious of what was in the rental truck, which had been parked in Linn Valley.

As officers from both departments were going to check on the truck, it passed them going the other way. By this time, the La Cygne Police Department had joined the chase.

Murrison said that the Miami County Sheriff’s Office then joined the chase for several miles on gravel roads. Deputies were able to set up spike strips at 359th and Jingo roads, and the truck hit the strips before turning south on Jingo.

Both tires on the driver’s side began to deflate, and when they turned east onto 367th Road, the front tire on the drivers side came off the rim and the chase speed slowed to 40 mph. The pursuit continued east into Missouri and into the town of Drexel before crossing over into Kansas again.

The truck then turned onto an exit ramp of U.S. Highway 69, driving north in the southbound lane as oncoming traffic were forced onto the shoulder of the road. The Kansas Highway Patrol at that point did a pit maneuver, making the truck spin into the median and stop.

Murrison said that when Ewing entered U.S. 69 going the wrong way, the highway patrol trooper took immediate action to suspend the chase by using the troopers vehicle to ram the truck and spin it around. He said he was surprised the truck didn’t turn over.

Officers arrested the suspect, who it was discovered, had a federal arrest warrant on a federal weapons violation and was considered armed and dangerous.

Ewing was taken into custody by the Linn Valley Police Department and was booked into the Linn County jail for the outstanding warrant, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, and for attempted trafficking of contraband in a correctional facility.

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