Residents of a northwest Omaha neighborhood where an overnight pursuit began say they were surprised by the incident but thankful that no one was hurt.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Department was involved in the chase early Monday that led to a deputy firing his weapon.
A deputy was dispatched to the area of 146th and State Street about 1:35 a.m. to investigate a 2000 Chevy Malibu being driven with its lights off. An anonymous caller said he heard either gunshots or fireworks.
A deputy spotted the Malibu, still driving without its lights, and stopped it in the area of 163rd and Leeman. When the deputy approached the vehicle, the driver turned around and sped off toward the deputy.
According to investigators, the deputy fired his gun in the direction of the vehicle and it continued past him. The deputy was not hurt but a pursuit began.
The Nebraska State Patrol joined the pursuit at West Maple Road and deployed spike strips along Highway 275 at Highway 36. The strips worked. The vehicle came to a stop just inside Dodge County.
The driver, 18-year-old Wyatt Wilson was booked for felony assault on an officer using a motor vehicle, felony operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, and misdemeanor willful reckless driving. The other two people in the vehicle were not charged and released to their parents.
The event was an unusual one for the northwest Omaha neighborhood just off 146th and State.
Jennifer Hicks lives there and she told us, “There is no real trouble out here. We don't have vandalism, we don't have people speeding up and down the streets - very quiet neighborhood, very family friendly. Hopefully it is just an isolated incident out there on State Street and doesn't come back here.”
While she added, “We are thankful we didn't have high-speed chasing going through,” a chase did begin up the street near 163rd and Leeman when officers found that Malibu.
The deputy involved radioed, “He did a U-Turn. I was out of my vehicle, advised him to stop, he tried to run me over.”
Dispatch: “Understood. How many shots were fired?”
Deputy: “One shot. Speeds are about 50 to 60 through the neighborhood. We are in pursuit, attempted felony assault on an officer.”
It wouldn’t stop there. The driver later identified as Wilson continued west.
The deputy said, “Speeds right now are 80 miles-per-hour. We are at 156 and Ida. He just ran the stop sign continuing westbound. Get stop sticks out in the westbound lanes. Be very careful, he is not maintaining very good control of his vehicle.”
A later radio transmission stated, “His tire just blew. Still throwing sparks. Maintaining his lane now, still westbound. Speed 75. Let them know to use stop sticks if they can. We are in the lane closest to the middle and we are headed westbound. Spikes successful. Spikes successful.”
Wilson was arrested.
Back in Jennifer’s neighborhood, Ms. Hicks told us something like this boils down to a lack of respect for authority.
“For him to not have any respect for the police officers, to even just stop for them, having to pull out more officers and put down the strips, it is just sad there is no respect there.”
No one was injured in the 30 minute pursuit.
An administrative review of the incident is under way.