Driver dies after Independence police chase leads to crash in Kansas City on Saturday

One person died following an Independence police chase that ended in a crash in Kansas City on Saturday.

Kansas City police officers responded around 2:17 p.m. to the crash near East 31st Street and Wabash Avenue, according to Sgt. Phillip DiMartino, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department.

Independence police were pursuing a white Chevrolet Z71 pickup truck westbound on 31st Street. After the Chevrolet entered Kansas City, near Wabash, it hit a black Audi Q5 going the other direction, DiMartino said.

The Chevrolet then hit a red Kia Sportage traveling westbound on 31st.

The Chevrolet veered onto a sidewalk, through a wrought iron fence and up a grassy embankment before it hit a large tree, DiMartino said.

Police said the Chevrolet driver was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver and passenger in the Kia were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life threatening, and the Audi driver didn’t report injuries.

No officers from the Kansas City Police Department were involved in the chase, DiMartino said.

Independence police initiated far more car chases than other police departments in the metro area, an investigation this year by The Star found. Policies regarding when Independence officers can pursue chases are vague, the investigation found, and many times officers reach speeds over 100 mph.

The family of Sharon Ault, a 50-year-old Buckner woman killed when a driver fleeing Independence police struck her car in September, reached a wrongful death settlement this month. The settlement will provide each of Ault’s children and her widower with $7,584.05 after lawyers’ fees, according to court documents.

Officers continued to chase the driver, Matthew T. Brooks, as he drove 100 mph on U.S. 24 Highway, but gave up the pursuit when he moved to the wrong side of the road, court documents said. Ault was driving north on Little Blue Parkway, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Saturday’s death was the 40th road fatality in Kansas City this year, according to police data. There had been 29 fatalities at this time last year.