Stolen box truck hauling mattresses crashes just east of Topeka after chase that started in Lawrence

TECUMSEH — A chase that started in Lawrence early Wednesday afternoon when a box truck delivering mattresses was stolen came to an end about a half-hour later just east of Topeka, when law enforcement officers were able to bring the vehicle to a stop.

 

The incident began about 12:30 p.m. at a residence in Lawrence, where a white box truck was delivering mattresses, authorities said.

The delivery driver reported someone had gotten into the truck and driven away, prompting Lawrence police officers to give chase.

The pursuit went west from Lawrence on US-40 highway, a two-lane roadway that winds up and down hills in western Douglas County and eastern Shawnee County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol joined in the pursuit as the chase entered Shawnee County.

Authorities at the scene said stop-sticks were deployed, and at least the left-front tire of the box truck was shredded.

The box truck then crashed near a guardrail on the north shoulder of the road in the 4400 block of S.E. US-40 highway between S.E. Tecumseh Road on the east and S.E. Croco Road on the west.

The person suspected of stealing the truck who had been driving the vehicle was taken to a Topeka hospital by American Medical Response ambulance with injuries not believed to be serious.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the man would be released from the hospital and whether he would be returned to Lawrence to face charges related to the theft and chase.

The truck remained upright after it came to a stop, and was towed from the scene by a heavy-duty wrecker.

According to lettering on the driver’s door, the truck was owned by Best Choice Delivery in Lenexa.

The large back roll-type door was open as the truck came to a stop, and apparently had been open the entire time during the pursuit between Lawrence and Topeka.

In addition to Lawrence police and the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Topeka Police Department and Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident.

Facebook Live video from the scene.

It was the third notable police chase reported in less than 24 hours in Topeka, including one other one that took place on US-40.

Contact reporter Phil Anderson at (785) 295-1195 or follow live reports @Philreports on Twitter. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/philreports.tcj/

 

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