Police: At least one man at large after carjacking, high speed chase from East Topeka to Lawrence

A car jacking at an East Topeka gas station turned into a high speed chase that ended in Lawrence Tuesday night. (Luke Ranker/The Capital-Journal)

TOPEKA & LAWRENCE — An out-of-town woman simply wanted to fill her van’s tires at an East Topeka gas station Tuesday night when a group of men stole her car at gunpoint and then led police on a high-speed chase to Lawrence.


That chase, which reached speeds above 100 mph, ended with two men in custody, said Topeka Police Lt. Aaron Jones. At least one other man was unaccounted for at 11 p.m.

The woman, whose identity police haven’t released, told officers she stopped at the Phillips 66 at 2024 S.E. California when she noticed her tire pressure was low. Near the north side of the store, three men with guns approached her and took her 2015 Dodge Caravan at around 9:40 p.m., Jones said.

She wasn’t injured during the carjacking, said Sgt. Hoa Lam said at the scene in East Topeka. It is unclear where the woman is from, but her van had Colorado license plates.

A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper located the vehicle at short time later driving eastbound on S.E. 6th near Croco Road and attempted to stop it. Instead the driver sped off, leading the trooper out of the city limits east on US-40 highway.

The van traveled at speeds between 95 and 110 mph on the narrow road, which often winds up and down hills in rural Shawnee and Douglas County. In Lawrence the pursuit continued onto W. 6th Street, a busy corridor on the city’s westside.

The driver stopped near a Walmart where Lawrence Police and KHP troopers arrested two men. A third man was still at large, according to a release from Jones, but a KHP dispatcher said a fourth person may also haven been in the vehicle.

A Lawrence Police officer at the Walmart, 550 Congressional Drive, said his department didn’t have additional information at 10:30 p.m. Two other officers with a police dog and flashlights searched an area to the east of the store.

The KHP dispatcher at 11 p.m. said officers had established a search perimeter in the area of Walmart and along W. 6th Street.

The suspects were described as black men around 6-foot-three and wearing long sleeve shirts.

At the Topeka Phillips 66, Lam said at least on of the men had a handgun, but it was unclear if the suspects at large in Lawrence were armed.

Also Tuesday night about a mile from the carjacking, Topeka Police attempted to stop an unrelated vehicle at S.E. 21 and Adams. That car drove off and led police to the area of S.E. 10 and Lawrence, a Shawnee County dispatcher said. Additional information about that chase wasn’t available Tuesday night.

Contact reporter Luke Ranker at (785) 295-1270 or @lrankerNEWS on Twitter. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/lukeranker.

This story is developing and will be updated.