COLUMBUS – A 37-year-old Columbus man who led local police on a wild chase last November that began on 33rd Avenue and ended in a cornfield about 15 miles of the town was sentenced to 30 months of probation in Platte County District Court.
Defendant Christopher Sky was convicted of operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest in connection with the Nov. 15 police pursuit that reached speeds of more than 70 mph as the driver weaved and fish-tailed through nighttime city traffic.
The high-speed chase topped 105 mph after Sky left town and careened southbound down U.S. Highway 81 while passing motorists traveling in the same direction.
Platte County District Court Judge Robert Steinke said the defendant deserved a chance at rehabilitation while on probation for mental health and substance abuse issues he had been dealing with in the months leading up to the November chase.
Operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest is a Class IV felony, punishable by up to two years in prison, 12 months post-release supervision and a $10,000 fine.
Steinke said a 2015 revision of state law on sentencing procedures for Class IV felony offenses called for expanded use of probation. The measure was aimed at dealing with prison overcrowding.
Sky, married and the father of three children, is currently serving a 120-day sentence in the county jail for third-degree domestic assault.
Sky was initially arrested for flight to flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs and speeding in the November incident.
“The crime you committed is very serious. Your driving threatened the safety of many motorists that night,” the judge told Sky.
Prior to sentencing, Sky told the judge he had been clean of drugs for eight years prior to last year’s chase.
“I’m sorry for the people I put in danger that night. I was having a hard time in my life with troubles at home and being under the influence of drugs that night,” Sky said. “I’m ashamed I ran from police and ran through intersections.”
The defendant said he wanted to work to be a good husband and to be a good father to his three children.
According to a Columbus Police investigation of the pursuit, the incident got underway near 17th Street and 33rd Avenue following a traffic violation.
Police reported that when the pursuit down Highway 81 passed the intersection with Highway 64 and merged from four lanes to two lanes, Sky drifted into oncoming traffic multiple times, sometimes forcing motorists to move over to the shoulder of the highway.
The chase ended within a few miles of the Highway 81-Highway 92 junction when Sky’s 2000 Pontiac Bonneville experienced mechanical problems and left the roadway.
The defendant was found slumped over in the passenger seat after having injected a large quantity of methamphetamine.81-