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Stolen SUV recovered after pursuit
Suspect vehicle rammed BCSO unit
Steven Contrerez
Steven Contrerez

Law enforcement officers quickly located a stolen sport utility vehicle after it was reported Thursday morning but the suspected thief drove away, leading them on a high-speed pursuit into the northeast part of Barton County. The chase ended near Hitschmann with the stolen 2011 Chevrolet Traverse sustaining heavy damage after ramming a Barton County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle. Both vehicles had to be towed. The suspect, Steven Contrerez, age 32, of Great Bend, is in the Barton County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

The Great Bend Police Department received a report at 4:44 a.m. Thursday that the SUV had been stolen from 2545 19th St. At 5:08 a.m., Sgt. Jay Bachar reported locating the stolen vehicle at 10th and Heizer St.

A pursuit was initiated and taken over by the Barton County Sheriff’s Office. 

Sheriff Brian Bellendir released more information Thursday afternoon.

“The vehicle fled from the police department eastbound on 10th St. reaching speeds of approximately 112 mph,” Bellendir stated in a news release. The vehicle continued east from Great Bend where BCSO deputies became involved.

“The stolen vehicle went north on K-156 highway at speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour, at times shutting off its lights and driving left of center on the roadway. The chase continued into the northeast part of Barton County, crossing K-4 at one point, entering a field and then coming back onto the roadway.

“At 5:30 a.m. the suspect vehicle reached NE 180 Road near NE 100 Ave. where the driver lost control. As a Sheriff’s patrol car approached the vehicle, the patrol unit was intentionally rammed by the suspect vehicle. Deputies were able to block the vehicle in and take the driver into custody approximately one-half mile west of Hitschmann.”

Bellendir said Contrerez was identified, arrested and transported to the Barton County Jail where he was booked on charges of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, felony flee and elude of a law enforcement officer, driving with no lights when required, driving with a suspended license and multiple other traffic violations. He was also charged by the GBPD on the stolen vehicle case.

Agencies assisting the BCSO included the GBPD, the Claflin Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.