SUV Chased by Cops Hits Building, Causing Collapse

Kansas City, MO - A vehicle involved in a police pursuit Thursday morning crashed into a building at 18th and Oak streets, causing part of the brick structure to collapse. The driver suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Kansas City Fire Battalion Chief James Garrett said. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Police began pursuing the vehicle, a white SUV that had been reported stolen, shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday. They abandoned the chase until another officer saw the vehicle near 12th Street and Prospect Avenue and began to pursue. The vehicle ran stoplights and stop signs at speeds up to 80 mph, police said. At one point, the vehicle turned south on Oak. “She didn’t stop driving like crazy,” said Kansas City Police Capt. Chris Sicoli. At 18th Street, the driver lost control of the SUV, which struck a fire hydrant and the building. One corner of the building collapsed onto the SUV. An antique vehicle stored inside the building came to rest near the SUV. “Luckily, the building has been vacant,” Sicoli said. Cynthia Bell, an eyewitness, said she first noticed the white SUV traveling at high speed on 11th Street before it turned south on Oak. “I said, ‘Something is going to end up happening,’ and lo and behold, something ended up happening,” Bell said. Chris Willsey, the building’s owner, said he kept about a dozen unrestored vehicles from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s inside the two-story structure. Engineers were inspecting the building’s integrity after the accident, he said, and he hoped that the structure, which dated to the 1920s and once served as a Ford dealership, could be preserved.