WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A crash following a short police pursuit claimed the life of a 22-year-old pregnant woman Tuesday afternoon at Central and Ridge Road.
It all started with a robbery at a hotel in the 7500 block of W. Taft involving two suspects.
Officers were near Maple and Ridge to pick up one robbery suspect when one of the two suspects fled northbound in a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup. A short police chase ensued, but it was called off, according to police.
“Our officers turned around to pursue, but it was quickly disregarded,” said Capt. Paul Duff, Wichita Police Department. “Our officers then turned around and went back to assist the other officer who took the original robbery suspect into custody.”
Investigators say the Dodge Ram traveled at a high rate of speed northbound, ran a red light, and caused a multi-car crash at Central and Ridge Road. The crash claimed the life of Samantha L. Russell of Wichita. She was in her Mazda CX3, which was stopped inside the left turn lane from southbound Ridge Road to eastbound Central. Russell was pregnant. First responders were able to save her baby.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, the driver of the Dodge Ram, 37-year-old Javan Jermaine Ervin, was trying to get away from the police. Ervin was arrested. Sedgwick County Jail records indicate Ervin was booked on suspicion of aggravated battery, first-degree murder, and criminal possession of a firearm.
The other drivers involved in the crash included a 40-year-old Nevada man driving a Chevy Silverado and a 73-year-old Wichita woman in a Jeep Compass. The woman was taken to Ascension Via-Christi St. Teresa for her injuries. The man wasn’t transported.
The Kansas Highway Patrol was called to handle the crash. The intersection was closed as crews investigated and interviewed witnesses.
According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, Ervin had several robbery convictions. His sentence ended on June 15.
As for the robbery suspect at Maple and Ridge, Wichita police arrested 34-year-old Jaime P. Chavez on suspicion of robbery and criminal possession of a firearm. Chavez has a previous conviction of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child under the age of 14 in Sedgwick County. He was paroled in March.
KSN News has filed an open record request for 911 audio on the chase and crash. The request was denied.
We respectfully deny your request for the above records as these records are not subject to mandatory disclosure under K.S.A. 45-221 (a) (10)(B) as set forth below:
(10) Criminal investigation records, except as provided herein. The district court, in an action brought pursuant to K.S.A. 45-222, and amendments thereto, may order disclosure of such records, subject to such conditions as the court may impose, if the court finds that disclosure:
(B) would not interfere with any prospective law enforcement action;
At this time the Wichita Police Department, as communicated by Officer Charley Davidson, has requested that these records not be released as they would impede an active investigation.Elora Forshee, Director
Sedgwick County Emergency Communications
After the crash, KSN News reached out to Wichita Police Department about their policy on pursuits. A spokesperson declined to do an interview but referred us to their policy online that states, “The officer and supervisor should continually assess the risks associated with an emergency response or pursuit (time of day, traffic, and weather conditions and distance to call.”
TIMELINE OF CHASE RELEASED BY THE WICHITA POLICE DEPARTMENT
- 16:59:16 WPD Officer observes the robbery suspect vehicle driving erratically on Ridge Road.
- 16:59:29 Officer pulls onto Ridge and begins pursuing. The truck accelerates at a high rate of speed, pulling away from the officer and creating distance.
- 17:00:04 Supervisor advises the officer to disregard the pursuit and the officer stops pursuing.
- 17:00:17 Officer makes a U-Turn to respond back to the robbery scene and assist other officers.
- 17:01:01 First 911 call received regarding the accident.