• Last modified 976 days ago (Oct. 21, 2021)


Long chase makes Main a drag strip: Speeds reach 75 mph downtown, 110 on highway

Staff writer

A Salina woman was arrested early Sunday in a field west of Marion after leading half a dozen McPherson and Marion County law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase down US-56 and through downtown Marion at speeds of up to 110 mph.

Captain Dean Scott of the McPherson County Sheriff’s Office said police were notified that Jena R. Larzalere, 28, Salina, was driving a 2018 Jeep Compass south on I-135, headed to Marion while heavily under the influence.

Dispatchers said she was driving to a friend’s house at 809 E. Main St. Appraiser’s office records list the house as belonging to Casey and Angela Snow. According to monitored police transmissions, Angela Snow is who initially notified authorities.

Marion officer Aaron Slater drove to the Main St. address.

A McPherson County deputy went to I-135 to look for Larzalere. He pulled her over at 2:57 a.m. Sunday and asked her to get out of her car for a sobriety test.

Instead, she sped off and took US-56 toward Marion, driving up to 110 mph.

Canton police officers attempted to deploy stop sticks, to flatten her tires, but the sticks malfunctioned and failed to slow her down.

Hillsboro officer Randy Brazil drove to Ash St. and US-56 to block Larzalere from entering town. He clocked her at 110 mph and joined the chase, taking the lead in an effort to pull her over.

Also in the chase were at least one and possibly two McPherson County deputies along with Marion County deputies Joel Womochil and Matt Regier, later joined by Marion County undersheriff Larry Starkey.

Dispatcher relayed to officers that Larzalere had told her friend in Marion that she would not stop until she crashed.

Larzalere drove in front of an oncoming semi east of Remington Rd. but veered back into her own lane. She then turned south on Cedar St., past Slater, who had moved there in anticipation of her arrival.

With Slater now also following, Larzalere drove into Marion and blew through several stop signs at speeds of up to 65 mph, Scott said.

She drove down Cedar St., turned west on Main St., and made a U-turn on 2nd St.

Womochil radioed at one point that she was traveling 75 mph in the wrong lane on Main.

She turned around again at 809 E. Main St., reportedly cutting across a yard and alley to go west again on Main St.

At one point, according to monitored transmissions, she nearly hit Slater’s squad car.

She continued until she was driving west on 190th Rd. After passing Old Mill Rd., Larzalere turned into a pasture.

She attempted to turn around and drive back east out of the pasture but instead drove into a creek.

McPherson County deputies said they had to break the driver’s side window and pull Larzalere out of the car because she refused to get out.

Deputies arrested her and took her to McPherson County jail.

She arrived at 3:42 a.m. and was booked at 6:38 a.m. on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fleeing law enforcement officers by engaging in reckless driving, aggravated assault, battery against a law enforcement officer, reckless driving, and obstruction of law enforcement.

She bonded out four hours later on $9,350 cash or surety bond.

Brazil said he would file a report with the Marion County attorney for her driving offenses in Marion County.

“I can’t believe she didn’t hit something in Marion, but it was 3:30 in the morning,” Brazil said. “I’m just glad there wasn’t any traffic out.”

Brazil said he thought all the officers did a good job.

“Nobody got hurt; no cars got damaged,” he said.

Throughout the chase, officers were continually looking out for other traffic.

Larzalere was jailed previously in Saline County in June on suspicion of violation of probation and in March 2020 on suspicion of battery of a law enforcement officer, physical contact with a law enforcement officer, criminal threat, and causing terror, evacuation or disruption.

Last modified Oct. 21, 2021