A vehicle chase that began in Parsons early Sunday morning ended in a manhunt along, and in, the Neosho River south of St. Paul. The suspects were captured early Sunday afternoon southeast of St. Paul.
Arrested were Katrina Beach, 33, and Langston Polk, 23, both of Parsons.
The chase began at 3:13 am Sunday when Parsons police responded to reported suspicious activity in the area of the Winway ball fields in southeast Parsons. Officers received the description of a small red pickup, a 2001 Ford Ranger, whose occupants allegedly removed property from a building at the ball park that houses restrooms and the concession stand. The items taken included toilet paper. A box that contained toilet paper and other property were recovered from the pickup, law enforcement said.
Parsons Police Sgt. Brice Dickens was first to arrive at Winway and saw a vehicle matching the citizen description. He noticed there were items in the pickup’s bed and attempted to conduct a traffic stop to investigate the theft. The pickup sped off, Police Sgt. Jason Ludwig reported in a statement.
The pickup drove east on Southern Avenue, turned north and eventually turned east on US-400. At Trego Road, the pickup turned north again.
Ludwig said the pickup stopped after a 28-mile pursuit in the area of 80th and Veterans roads in Neosho County. The pickup had driven through a gate and into a soybean field. The driver drove until the pickup became stuck. Dickens began a search and asked for Labette County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Brown and his K-9 partner to assist.
They found the vehicle unoccupied and followed two sets of tracks into a wooded area before losing the trail, Ludwig said.
Police recovered the pickup, shoes from one of its occupants and identification papers and cards. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were also found in the pickup, along with the box of items taken from Winway that belonged to the city of Parsons.
Neosho County sheriff’s deputies searched as well and Neosho County put out a CodeRed notice about the pursuit that cautioned residents near the search area to lock doors and vehicles, according to Neosho County Undersheriff Greg Taylor. CodeRed is a free targeted emergency notification system that’s used in Labette County as well to notify subscribers of threatening weather and other emergencies.
Taylor said a fisherman on the river told authorities that he saw a man and woman floating on a log southbound in the middle of the Neosho after noon Sunday. The woman asked for a cigarette and the two wanted the location of the nearest town, Taylor said.
Wildlife and Parks Officer Jeremy Stenstrom and two other W&P officers, David Jenkins and Jonathan Rather, searched the river area on Sunday morning and returned later Sunday when the fisherman reported seeing the two floating in the river.
“That was the contact that enabled us to be in the general vicinity,” Stenstrom said and enabled them to stay south of the suspects.
The citizen report came in about 1 or 1:30 pm Sunday and the game wardens were able to intercept the suspects on 60th Road west of Wallace Road. A bridge on 60th crosses the river west of Wallace. Stenstrom said he saw the female walking westbound toward Wallace Road on 60th. The male was walking with her, but ducked into the wooded area when he saw the game wardens. Stenstrom said the officers convinced the shoeless man to come out and the two were arrested.
He said the two were scratched up but refused medical attention.
Langston had two arrest warrants from Neosho County, one from Oswego Municipal Court and one from Chetopa Municipal Court. Langston provided law enforcement with a false identification as well, Police Sgt. Ludwig said.
Langston also possessed $250,000 worth of savings bonds. These reportedly were stolen from a rural Parsons man who lives in a nursing home. This case remains under investigation by the Labette County Sheriff’s Department.
Beach and Polk were taken to the Parsons Police Department. Polk was later transferred to the Labette County Jail.
Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks said, “This is what ‘see it, hear it, report it’ is all about. (A) citizen sees suspicious activity, calls the police, giving a good description of the activity and vehicle and burglary suspects are eventually arrested. I want to thank all of the citizens of Parsons and Labette County who call law enforcement to report suspicious activity. This is how we work as a team to keep our community safe.”
The case remains under investigation. If anyone has any further information on this incident or any other criminal activity, please contact the Parsons Police Department at 421-7060, the tip line at 421-7057 or email firstname.lastname@example.org