An Emporia man was killed and reckless second degree murder charges are pending after a high-speed pursuit resulted in a two-vehicle wreck on W. Sixth Avenue, Thursday afternoon.
Steven A. Henry, 64, was pronounced dead after his vehicle was struck from behind at a high rate of speed. The other vehicle was driven by Devawn Mitchell, 23, also of Emporia.
According to a written release from Emporia Police Sergeant Lisa Hayes, Mitchell was initially observed by an EPD officer in the 600 block of Commercial Street, driving at a high rate of speed around 1:22 p.m. Mitchell allegedly swerved and attempted to "ram the officer's patrol vehicle," at which point the officer initiated a pursuit.
Hayes said the pursuit was called off seconds later due to speed and going into a residential area.
Then, around 2:10 p.m., a second officer observed Mitchell on the west side of town. The officer observed Mitchell's activities until other officers arrived. Mitchell accelerated away from one officer who Hayes said did not engage in pursuit, but was followed at a distance by other officers as he drove south on Graphic Arts Road to W. Sixth Avenue.
Michell then drove east on Sixth Avenue, turned south onto Graham Street and stopped in the 300 block of Graham. Patrol cars block the street — both behind and in front of Mitchell's car — and an officer "attempted to communicate with Mitchell verbally." Another officer attempted to place stop sticks in front of Mitchell’s car tires for the safety of all involved.
Before stop sticks could be placed, Mitchell accelerated over curbs and onto a residential street where he returned to W. Sixth Avenue.
Officers pursued briefly and Mitchell kept accelerating.
The chase was again called off.
As officers got to the intersection W. Sixth Avenue and W. US Highway 50, "they could no longer observe Mitchell’s vehicle." Hayes said this was about the 2100 block of US-50.
Another officer in an unmarked vehicle was heading westbound in the 600 block of W. US Hwy. 50 when he observed Mitchell's car in the 1000 block of the roadway. Mitchell "appeared to be going very fast."
The officer called in a traffic collision after observing a large cloud of dust shortly after spotting Mitchell's vehicle around 2:30 p.m.
Officers arrived on the scene and began administering life-saving measures to Henry, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Mitchell suffered minor injuries and was transported to Newman Regional Health via ambulance. He was released later and booked into the Lyon County Jail on charges of Reckless Second Degree Murder and Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.
This investigation is on-going and further details will be released as they become available. The Kansas Highway Patrol is assisting in the fatality accident investigation.
The accident, which involved multiple vehicles, took place at 1028 W. Sixth Avenue around 2:30 p.m.
Hayes said Sixth Avenue will be closed between Walnut and Oak streets as work is done at the scene for several hours Thursday evening.