KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man has been charged after police said he stole a truck, ran from police and ultimately crashed into a transit van carrying two people with disabilities Wednesday night.
Leonel Dewitt-Cruz has been charged in Jackson County with stealing a vehicle, resisting arrest and leaving the scene of an accident, according to new court documents.
Police were first made aware of the stolen truck on Feb. 19 at 9:07 a.m. when its owner reported it had been stolen from her driveway in Gladstone. The owner had started the truck but then gone back into the house to get some items she had forgotten.
At this moment, Dewitt-Cruz was driving around with “some friends,” who were not named in the court documents. He said he saw the running truck and decided to drive away with it.
Police found the truck later that day at 3:58 p.m. when they picked up the license plate near 21st and Prospect Avenue. An officer tried to stop the truck, but Dewitt-Cruz backed up, drove over a cement wall and drove away.
When more officers joined the chase, Dewitt-Cruz drove off of the street, which is when he hit a house near 20th and Spruce. Officers were able to deflate the truck’s tires, but Dewitt-Cruz kept driving.
He then blew through a stop sign at 13th and Jackson Avenue, where he struck a Ford transit van from the Center for Developmentally Disabled. Two people with disabilities were in the van. Both people and the driver were later transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Dewitt-Cruz then fled on foot, but he was arrested shortly after. Officers found a clear glass pipe with residue in his pocket.
The truck was totaled in the crash. The owner of the house that was struck estimated damages would cost about $3,000. Dewitt-Cruz also damaged a pole during the chase.
When police asked him who he was with when he stole the truck, he said, “I can’t snitch on him.”
Documents state he confessed to the crimes, stating he stole the truck to try and sell it.