LPD: Man faces charges after stealing cars, hitting officer while speeding away

Zacharia Hughes
Zacharia Hughes(Lincoln Police Department)
Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Lincoln man is facing a number of charges including assaulting an officer, after police say he stole two cars and sped away causing a number of crashes.

On Thursday, just before 9 a.m., officers were dispatched on a shoplifting call at a gas station on South 17th Street, near A Street in south Lincoln.

Responding officers were able to identify a suspect, 28-year old Zacharia Hughes. LPD said he stole two cartons of cigarettes from the gas station.

He was then seen driving a stolen Toyota Solara at the time of that theft. Officers said the car had been stolen the day before, on Wednesday, while the owner was unloading boxes from their car.

A few hours later, on Thursday, LPD received another shoplifting call from Casey’s on North 27th Street in north Lincoln. Responding officers identified the same suspect and car as Hughes.

LPD said with assistance from Nebraska State Patrol and their Aviation Team, investigators were able to locate the stolen Toyota Solara at a Super Saver on N 48th Street in east Lincoln.

According to police, when investigators approached Hughes, he was outside the car but ran towards it and started to speed away. LPD said Hughes accelerated the car, driving towards two officers, where one was able to avoid getting hit but a second officer was hit by the car. That officer has non-life threatening injuries to both their legs and arm.

LPD said Hughes continued to speed away, though officers did not chase him, instead they monitored the car by the NSP Aviation Team.

Officers said Hughes continued speeding with disregard for the safety of others.

Hughes stopped briefly around North Cotner Boulevard in northeast Lincoln, where LPD said he was seen getting out of the Toyota Solara. Officers said Hughes was seen getting into a pickup truck, which they learned he had stolen.

LPD said Hughes had told the owner of the pickup truck that he needed help and the employee begged him not to steal it.

From there, officers said Hughes sped away causing a number of crashes with other cars and was driving on sidewalks, according to officers.

Hughes was involved in a crash but continued driving, until another crash near 48th and Old Cheney Streets where LPD said that crash disabled the truck.

Deputies with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office were the first to arrive on scene and were able to arrest Hughes after a brief chase.

Investigators said Hughes was uncooperative and told deputies that he had injuries from the crashes. Hughes was taken to Bryan West where he was medically cleared.

Hughes is facing the following charges:

  • 2nd degree assault on an officer
  • Use of a deadly weapon to commit felony
  • Theft by receiving
  • Theft by unlawful taking
  • Operating a vehicle to avoid arrest
  • Leaving the scene of injury accident

Hughes was also arrested for previous incidents, according to LPD:

  • May 3rd: Hughes involved in auto theft
  • May 29th: Hughes involved in auto theft
  • June 2nd: Hughes involved in auto theft
  • June 3rd: Hughes leaves scene of crash; hit and run
  • July 22nd: Hughes leaves scene of crash; hit and run

LPD believes all the stolen vehicles have been recovered. Investigators said Hughes could be facing more charges.

Investigators are still compiling reports from all of the crashes involving injuries and property damage.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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