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Heartbroken family demands accountability after police pursuit ends in crash, killing woman

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    SMITHVILLE, Missouri (KMOV) — A Smithville family is calling for accountability following the death of a beloved wife, mother and grandmother who was killed in a Lee’s Summit car crash Friday afternoon.

The crash was the end result of a police pursuit that started in Lone Jack.

Patsy Arnold, 73, was driving back to Smithville with her sister, Sherri Huhs, after spending the day at the Powell Gardens in Lee’s Summit. They were driving on Highway 50 near Smart Road, when Huhs saw an alarming sight.

“I said, ‘There’s a red pickup truck in the median.’ And, I’m sure she didn’t have time to register what I said because almost immediately I saw him clip the car in front of us, and then I just saw red in the windshield,” Huhs said.

The red truck had crossed over the median into oncoming traffic, flipping one car before landing on Patsy’s.

“I’m lucky I just got bruises and a few abrasions on my arms,” Huhs said.

Patsy was not so lucky. She was airlifted to a local hospital, but died of her injuries.

Huhs was transported to a local hospital to get checked out and said that, during her entire stay in the hospital, a police officer from an unknown department kept checking on her.

“She kept apologizing for what happened that day and I thought, ‘Oh, how thoughtful is that.’ And then, I find out that it was a chase that caused the crash,” Huhs said.

Lone Jack Police tell KCTV5 News they initiated a pursuit with the driver of the red truck because he was going 89 MPH in a 65 MPH zone, in a stolen vehicle.

“It was a stolen 1990 Ford Ranger. Let him go,” Patsy’s son, Jason Arnold said. “It makes no sense for what the police did that day. No sense at all. And, it all could have been avoided.”

Patsy was retired from the FBI, where she worked for more than 20 years. She and her husband Bob had celebrated 50 years of marriage in December.

Bob, a retired Kansas City Police officer, said the two spent their days spoiling their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, walking, hiking, biking and traveling.

“It was a wonderful life,” Bob said. “We were living the dream, as they say. And, I don’t think she had an enemy in the world. She has a smile on her face all the time. Her cup was always full.”

The driver of the stolen vehicle that crashed into Patsy’s vehicle has a lengthy criminal history. KCTV5 News is not releasing his name until he is officially charged. Missouri State Highway Patrol is recommending he be charged with second-degree murder, DWI, and resisting arrest. MSHP says the driver was on drugs at the time of the crash.

“But, the police officers chasing him, they were not on drugs. As far as I’m concerned, they didn’t make much better decisions than he did that day,” Huhs said.

Bob agrees with Huhs sentiments.

“The officers have got to be responsible,” he said. “Let him go. You don’t need to chase him through all this traffic and end up killing my wife. She never hurt anybody.”

KCTV5 News asked Lone Jack police for their pursuit policy, but the department said they could not provide it due to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s ongoing crash investigation.

KCTV5 does have a copy of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department’s pursuit policy. The 20-page document lays out when and how officers should consider entering into a pursuit. It says, “Members will not initiate or continue a pursuit when, in the member’s opinion, the danger to the public or member created by the pursuit, exceeds the danger presented by the offender remaining at large.”

It also says that officers should always keep the public’s safety at the forefront of their minds.

Patsy’s family wants every police department to have a similar policy. They want it required by law.

“I hope that we can do something to help this never happen again to anyone else,” Jason said.

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