Man allegedly tries to get into helicopter, leads police on lengthy, high-speed pursuit

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CHANUTE, Kan. (KSNF) — A man is in custody after leading police on a lengthy pursuit that reached speeds over 90 miles per hour.

Chanute police officers responded to a call Friday, December 20th, of someone trying to get into a helicopter at the Chanute airport. When they arrived, they noticed a vehicle leaving the area and began following it. They say the vehicle attempted to flee and a pursuit began.

The suspect vehicle went off a country road and turned down an agricultural lane north of Chanute in Neosho County before getting stuck in a fence row.

Authorities say the driver then freed the vehicle from the fence, turned it around, and drove the vehicle at pursuing officers. One of the officers discharged his weapon at the oncoming vehicle.

The pursuit continued with the help of the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and the Humboldt Police Department.

The suspect vehicle was then found unoccupied on the east side of Humboldt.

A short time later, a Chevy Camaro was reported stolen in Humboldt, then later recovered in the vicinity of Hawaii Road and 169 Highway in Allen County.

As officers responded to the area, a perimeter was established and the Chanute Police Department K9 were deployed to assist in the tracking of the individual. The suspect was located a short distance away in a small disposal shed next to some tank batteries. The suspect barricaded himself inside, and a short stand off ensued. After a short period, officers were able to take a subject into custody.

Chanute Police Department

The suspect is identified as Justin Daniel Wessels, 48, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Reports will be forwarded to the Allen County Attorney’s Office and the Neosho County Attorney’s Office to decide if the suspect will be charged.

The authorities at the scene when the officer’s firearm was discharged have been reassigned to administrative duty, per department policy and pending the outcome of a review.

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