Watch: Police tried to arrest him… then the chase began. Now dash cam video shows the truth.

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KANSAS CITY, KS- One week after newly released dash camera video of a Kansas City man involved in a cross-county chase with a Kiowa County sheriff’s deputy, FOX4 scanned through the footage to investigate.

According to reports, the new video, which was released from Pratt County authorities, falls in line with August 15th reports from the Kansas Highway Patrol. A vehicle, which appears to be driven by 35-year-old Lionel Womack, leads several law enforcement vehicles on an extended chase after refusing to stop.

Allegedly, Womack claimed that he was scared by the police, so he got out of his can and fled on foot. In a statement provided by his attorney, Womack also claimed that he did everything right while interacting with the officers.

However, newly released dash camera footage shows more of what led up to the man being hit and then arrested. The video shows an attempt to pull over Womack’s vehicle and it shows him ignoring the attempt. From there, a pursuit began.

Roughly eight minutes into the video, the footage shows one of Womack’s tires blow out, likely from hitting a spike device that can also be seen in the video. Womack then turns on his hazard lights and police vehicles continue to pass the erratic vehicle to warn oncoming drivers that someone is approaching in the wrong lane.

30-minutes into the pursuit, a temporary license plate fell off the vehicle before it turned down a dirt road in Kiowa County. At that point, Womack left his car and jumped over a small fence. Still in pursuit, a patrol truck plowed through that same fence.

Womack’s attorney in his civil rights case is claiming that the deputy driving the patrol trunk used excessive and unreasonable deadly force. The attorney, Michael Kuckelman said that it’s a “true fact, pursuit or not.” He added:

“If someone broke the law, for example here, if Mr. Womack attempted to elude police officers, he should have been placed under arrest. He should have been taken before a judge and if the judge convicted him and found him guilty, the judge would have imposed a fine.”

He continued:

“But you don’t get to transfer that out into an open field and say, ’10 minutes ago or an hour ago, five hours ago or yesterday, he was dangerous to somebody on the road, therefore, we get to drive a car over him.”

This was not Womack’s first time running from police. He is currently being held in Guymon, Oklahoma for a separate charge of endangering others while eluding police. Court records show he is also charged with several misdemeanor traffic citations.

Kuckelman said that Womack is claiming that he has ongoing pain issues with his lower back as a result of being hit by the deputy’s patrol vehicle.

The incident, which happened on August 15th, show that Womack has been charged with eight different crimes, including reckless driving and attempting to flee. The detailed information released from the Kansas Highway Patrol tells what occurred before the video.

The chase started in Reno County where a trooper clocked Womack at 101 mph in a 55 mph zone. That same trooper said that by the time he got turned around, he again clocked Womack at 120 mph in the 55 mph zone and that his speeds eventually exceeded 140 mph.

That pursuit was called off for safety reasons, but about 20 minutes later, the Pratt County Sheriff’s Officer began pursuing Womack again since he did not slow down his speed. This pursuit went through a few counties before landing in Kiowa County where Womack was arrested.

Zee Womack, Lionel’s wife is an officer for the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (KCKPD) and many of Lionel’s relatives are also employed by the agency. Lionel himself, was also formerly employed by KCKPD until recently. 

Zee Womack, who watched the video of her husband being hit by the patrol vehicle, said that she is struggling to understand why the deputy felt justified in using such force. She said:

“I am a police officer as well and I feel like especially right now it is a really difficult time to be a police officer. We don’t always get the support, I guess, that would be helpful in this occupation. And this makes it a lot more difficult to be an officer.”

She said that an officer who is capable of making decisions like that, should not have a badge. She added:

“To me it showed a blatant disregard for human life.”

According to Womack’s attorney, Womack recently started a new job in private security that requires him to commute between Kansas and California. The details around his employment record and departure from the department are still unclear. 

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Two people killed in crash during police pursuit; now five officers are suspended, under investigation

July 13th, 2020

CLINTON, MD – According to police reports, a 62-year old mother and her 42-year old son were killed Thursday in Clinton when their SUV crashed into a couple of roadside utility poles.

A nearby gas station attendant had called police on July 9th around 4:45 pm for service due to the disorderly behavior of a couple of customers. The attendant reported that the driver and passenger of an SUV parked at the station’s gas pumps were acting in an “unusual manner.”

When the first patrolman arrived at the scene, he talked briefly with the two occupants of the vehicle, Lynda Ann Jones of Capitol Heights and her son, Richard Sylvester Jones, also of Capitol Heights.

After briefly speaking with the officer, the occupants of the SUV then drove away from the station.

The officer that had spoken to the occupants, along with four other police officers, began pursuing the vehicle, which turned into a 6.7-mile chase.

During the pursuit, the SUV lost control and around 5 pm, crashed into at least two roadside utility poles about 11 miles south of Capital Heights on Old Branch Avenue near Tarquin Avenue. Both occupants of the SUV died at the scene.

Due to the seriousness of the situation, the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit is investigating the collision.

In addition, the Internal Affairs Division is investigating the actions of the officers.

For unknown reassons, all five officers who were involved in the pursuit were suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Investigators would like to speak to anyone who has information on this investigation. They are urged to call the Internal Affairs Division at 301-516-5721. 

This is a developing story. Check back with Law Enforcement Today for updates.

Law Enforcement Today reported on another collision earlier this week. Here’s that story again.

 
Boston Township, MI – It’s being called a miracle that he survived.

State Trooper Caleb Starr was hit head-on Friday night just before 10 pm. Air rescue was called in due to the severity of the injuries sustained by the officer. 

Watch: Police tried to arrest him... then the chase began.  Now dash cam video shows the truth.
Photo courtesy of the Michigan State Police

Trooper Starr was “heading west on Grand River Avenue in his cruiser when he was hit head on by an eastbound vehicle driven by a 28-year-old woman from Utah”, according to the State Police.

Investigators at the scene say that Starr was traveling at a steady speed below the posted 55 miles per hour limit. They also believe that he had slowed down substantially before the collision.

The damage to his cruiser was such that he had to be extracted from the vehicle and was airlifted to a hospital in Grand Rapids. 

Watch: Police tried to arrest him... then the chase began.  Now dash cam video shows the truth.
Photo courtesy of the Michigan State Police

The driver of the other vehicle was taken by ambulance to a local hospital in critical, but stable, condition.  Her name has not yet been released, pending the outcome of the investigation, which is ongoing to determine the cause.

She was able to removed from her vehicle, which caught fire. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames that had engulfed what appears to be a a Jeep Cherokee. 

Watch: Police tried to arrest him... then the chase began.  Now dash cam video shows the truth.
Photo courtesy of the Michigan State Police

From the condition of the vehicles, it is a miracle that either of them survived. 

According to the Daily News:

“On-scene investigation throughout Friday night and Saturday morning has revealed Starr’s Dodge Charger patrol vehicle was struck head-on by a Jeep SUV which crossed the center line from eastbound Grand River Avenue and into the trooper’s lane of travel as he was responding to a low-priority call for service in the area.”

Our prayers are with both victims and their families. 

Sadly, members of our law enforcement community are involved in line of duty accidents far too frequently. There are times where high speeds are to blame during pursuits, other times it involves negligence or distraction from other drivers.

Either way, we must pay attention when we are driving and be aware of emergency vehicles in our area. Law Enforcement Today has recorded 15 law enforcement deaths this year that were considered vehicle fatalities.

Last month we shared a few of these stories with you. 

CRANBURY, NJ – Two people and a state trooper were injured early Monday morning in a three-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury Township between South River Road and Route 130.

According to a New Jersey State Police Facebook post, at 6:59 a.m. Monday, a State Police Chevy Tahoe was stopped behind a Porsche Boxster on the right shoulder of the turnpike. The Tahoe had its emergency overhead lights activated.

 

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According to the post, a dump truck was traveling south on the outer roadway when it struck a left metal guardrail and then continued onto the inner roadway. The truck then struck and overrode the Tahoe, overturned and struck the Porsche in front of the Tahoe.

A SkyFox helicopter was flying over the area at 8:40 a.m. and captured the mangled vehicles.

The trooper and the drivers of the dump truck and Porsche all had moderate injuries and were transported to a local hospital, according to the post, and there were no occupants in any of the three vehicles.

The accident resulted in the inner roadway being closed for about six hours, and the cause and circumstances of the crash remain under investigation.

Earlier this week, Law Enforcement Today reported on a collision that involved an officer that didn’t have a positive outcome like this one.

Here’s that story again in case you missed it. 

A Brentwood police officer was killed early Thursday morning.  The officer was identified as Dustin Legieza of the Brentwood Police Department.

It appears the officer was on his way back to the precinct at the end of his shift around 5 am when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle that crossed over the center lane on Franklin Road.

Officer Legieza worked for the Brentwood Police Department for five years and was only 30 years old.

Officer Legieza comes from a long line of police officers including his father and grandfather according to NEWS4Nashville. He also leaves behind his wife, Heather Legieza.

Legieza died from his injuries in the crash after being transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center. The woman driver of the other car was also transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center but suffered only non-life-threatening injuries.

He is the first Brentwood police officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Brentwood Chief of Police in a statement on Thursday:

“To say that I am heartbroken would be an understatement. Dustin was an exceptional officer with so much potential in our organization. His memory will live in our hearts forever and we will honor him daily in our continued service.”

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the accident as a criminal investigation. The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) stated they do not know what caused the woman driver to cross over the double yellow line on Franklin Road.

Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller said:

“The officer appears to be doing everything right.”

THP closed Franklin Road between Murray Lane and Concord Road for about six hours to conduct their investigation. A candlelight vigil was held on Friday at 8pm at the Brentwood City Hall, 5211 Maryland Way.

Law Enforcement Today is praying for the department and Officer Legieza’s family.

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