Video: Police pursuit unfolds along Super Bowl parade route
Hours before the Kansas City Chief's parade was to begin, a vehicle broke through barriers and led police on a pursuit down most of the parade route
Glenn E. Rice, Robert A. Cronkleton, Kevin Hardy, Mará Rose Williams and Allison Kite
Kansas City Star
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hours before the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade was to begin on Grand Boulevard in downtown Kansas City Wednesday, a car broke through barriers and led police on a chase down most of the length of the parade route.
The chase spread fear among a crowd that had, moments before, been celebrating. It started when a green sedan broke through a barrier on the north end of the parade route in the River Market area, police said. Officers along the route were immediately alerted.
The pursuit ended at Grand and Pershing Road, near the south end of the two-mile route where two people — a man and a woman — were arrested. No injuries were reported, police said.
Police were investigating whether the driver was impaired, said Sgt. Jake Becchina, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department.
The suspect’s motive was unknown, but police were interviewing the man and woman to find out why they drove onto the route and then refused to stop.
The chase was not thought to be related to any act of terrorism, Becchina said. Police searched the vehicle and found no weapons or explosives.
The chase unfolded shortly after 8 a.m. as crowds along Grand Boulevard were startled by the sound of sirens and the sedan sped south down the parade route, chased by police cruisers. The car quickly vanished from sight, leaving shocked parade watchers to be ordered away from the road by police staffing the barricades.
“Move back, Move back!” an officer on an ATV shouted.
The chase instantly shattered the mood of the crowd. Seconds before, police had been leading fans in chanting “Go Chiefs!”
“Did that really just happen?” a woman in the crowd asked.
Oh my god a car flew threw the barriers ON THE KC PARADE ROUTE and a chase ensued down the route, hope nobody got hurt pic.twitter.com/cG54Y3oUf5— TOM MARTIN (@LetItFlyTom) February 5, 2020
Police tried to stop the car using tire deflation devices. Although some of the tires were flattened, the car continued south down Grand where it turned onto Pershing Road and headed toward the crowds gathered at Union Station.
“I just thought this can’t be happening,” said Shawn McMullen, a Kansas City native living in Charlotte, North Carolina, who traveled back home for the Super Bowl and the victory parade.
As the car sped down Pershing, fans gathered five deep at the barrier started screaming and running away into Washington Square Park. Police used a tactical maneuver to stop the car as it neared the crowds.
Folding chairs, wagons, backpacks, coolers and other belongings went tumbling and were upended as people scrambled for safety. Police officers yelled, “Get back. You’re in the line of fire.”
Officers surrounded the car with their weapons drawn as smoke poured from the vehicle. The smell of burning rubber quickly filled the air.
“It was terrifying,” said Deana Keen, a fan who was near where the car had been stopped. “We started running because everybody (police) drew their guns and we thought maybe there would be some gunfire.”
Once it became clear the threat was over, the crowd erupted in cheers of “KCPD. Way to Go!”
People then went back and picked up their items and moved as close to the barriers as they could.
Susan Mansfield, of Gladstone, and her daughter, Kirsta Mansfield, were trying to cross Pershing Road to the north side of the street just before the driver turned the corner off of Grand Boulevard in front of them.
“It looked like he was going to come through the fence, and then everybody just started running” away from the south-barricades on Pershing, Mansfield said.
“I grabbed her because I thought she was going to get hit,” she said, gesturing toward Kirsta.
The car was “already bashed in” when it came around the corner at Grand and Pershing, Mansfield said.
Police, after arresting the two people, posted a message on Twitter telling fans to “resume celebrating!”
Soon, most of the crowd was happy again. Two unmarked police cars that came north on Grand after the chase were greeted with cheers. People leaning on the barriers thanked police stationed there. “Hey good job!” one man yelled.
Mayor Quinton Lucas posted on Twitter that he appreciated the quick action of police.
“We’ll stay vigilant about the threats like these throughout the day.”