Passenger killed, driver arrested in high-speed chase

High-speed chase started on I-80 ends in one arrest and one death.
High-speed chase started on I-80 ends in one arrest and one death.(file)
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 8:28 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (Press Release) - The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a fatality crash that occurred in York County following a multi-agency pursuit.

At approximately 7:40 a.m. Friday, a trooper observed an eastbound Jeep Wrangler driving on the shoulder and following another vehicle too closely near mile marker 354 on Interstate 80. The trooper attempted a traffic stop, but the driver refused to yield and accelerated to over 100 miles per hour. The trooper initiated a pursuit.

After several miles, the Jeep exited I-80 and began traveling on county roads south of the Interstate in York County. The vehicle then entered a field and continued fleeing southbound. When the vehicle drove through a fence and continued into a pasture, the trooper did not pursue through the fence.

The vehicle continued southbound through the field, while the trooper drove back north to connect with the nearest county road. The York County Sheriff’s Office and Seward County Sheriff’s Office then picked up the pursuit as the vehicle continued southbound. Moments later, the suspect vehicle struck a bridge guardrail and crashed.

Both occupants were ejected from the vehicle. The passenger, identified as Melissa Hernandez, 30, of North Platte, was pronounced deceased on the scene. The driver, identified as Christopher Brewer, 30, of North Platte, was not seriously injured and was immediately taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies. Methamphetamine was located at the crash scene, according to NSP.

Brewer was treated for minor injuries at the hospital in York and has since been lodged in York County Jail for motor vehicle homicide, flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving (2nd offense), driving under suspension, possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to deliver, and numerous traffic violations.

The York County Attorney has assigned the Nebraska State Patrol to conduct the crash investigation. NSP said the entire incident lasted approximately 15 minutes.