Driver arrested following a high speed chase and crash near Kearney

(Kearney, NE) -- A Chicago man is behind bars in Nebraska after leading troopers on a high speed chase before crashing near Kearney Monday night.

The Nebraska State Patrol says around 5:30 Monday night, a trooper pulled a Jeep Patriot over for speeding on I-80 near Kearney. The NSP says shortly after the traffic stop, troopers got a report of an SUV going over 100 miles per hour and passing vehicles on the shoulder. A trooper was able to locate the vehicle, which was the same SUV from the previous traffic stop.

The trooper attempted to pull the Jeep over again, but the driver accelerated and fled, with the trooper in pursuit. Investigators say the Jeep continued to drive, "in a reckless manner" and was coming up on an area with 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 stopped the pursuit out of concern for public safety.

Several hours later, around 10:45 PM, NSP and Hall County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a crash with an abandoned vehicle near the I-80 Interchange near Alda. Investigators say the vehicle was the same Jeep that had been involved in the two prior incidents. The trooper provided a suspect description to gas station attendants in the area.

The state patrol says just before 2:30 Tuesday morning, they got a report about the people from the Jeep attempting to travel by cab to a hotel in Kearney. Investigators say a trooper located the cab as it exited I-80 and pulled the taxi over. Once pulled over, the cab driver exited the vehicle. The state patrol says 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, hitting the trooper in the leg before running into a pole in a gas station parking lot.

The suspect, identified as 26 year old Nike Stevens of Chicago, then fled on foot but investigators say the trooper quickly apprehended him. Stevens is charged with assault on an officer with a motor vehicle, flight to avoid arrest, child abuse/neglect, resisting arrest, and obstruction.

An adult female passenger and child were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney for treatment of minor injuries suffered in the crash earlier in the night. The trooper was also treated for a minor leg injury.

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