A pursuit along Interstate 80 Monday night included damage to fencing at Crane Trust, after which three people hailed a cab at the Alda interchange.
Nike Stevens of Chicago was arrested early Tuesday morning by the Nebraska State Patrol. Stevens, 26, was the driver of a Jeep Patriot that also contained a woman and a child. At one point, the Patriot was traveling more than 100 mph, according to the State Patrol.
The Jeep Patriot drove through gates and fencing at Crane Trust and came to a stop near the Platte River, Hall County Chief Deputy Jim Castleberry said.
After the crash, the three occupants abandoned the vehicle, walked to the Alda I-80 interchange and called a cab, which took them west to Kearney.
The State Patrol gave the full order of events:
At about 5:30 p.m. Monday, a trooper performed a traffic stop on the Patriot for speeding on I-80 near Kearney. Shortly after the traffic stop, the State Patrol received a report of an SUV traveling more than 100 mph and passing vehicles on the shoulder. The trooper was able to locate the reported vehicle, which was the same vehicle from the previous traffic stop.
The trooper attempted another traffic stop, but the vehicle accelerated and fled. The trooper initiated a pursuit. The Jeep continued to drive in a reckless manner and was approaching an area of heavy traffic, the State Patrol says. The trooper was aware of the driver’s identity and was also aware that a young child was in the vehicle, so the trooper discontinued the pursuit out of concern for public safety.
Several hours later, at about 10:45 p.m., the State Patrol and Hall County deputies responded to the crash near Alda. The vehicle was the same Jeep that had been involved in the two prior incidents. The trooper provided a subject description to gas station attendants in the area.
At about 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, the State Patrol received a report of the same subjects attempting to travel by cab to a hotel in Kearney. A trooper located the cab in which they were traveling as it exited I-80 at the Kearney interchange at mile marker 272. The trooper stopped the cab, and the cab driver exited the vehicle. The passenger, identified as the driver of the Jeep, then got into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away.
The trooper unsuccessfully deployed a taser and the subject began to drive, striking the trooper in the leg and then striking a pole in a gas station parking lot. Stevens then fled on foot, but the trooper quickly apprehended him.
Stevens was lodged in Buffalo County Jail for assault on an officer with a motor vehicle, flight to avoid arrest, child abuse/neglect, resisting arrest and obstruction. The woman and child were transported to CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney for treatment of minor injuries suffered in the crash earlier in the night. The trooper also was treated for a minor leg injury.