An Olathe, Kansas man will spend 78 months in federal prison, without parole, for leading Kansas City police on a chase down an airport runway.

Efren Torres-Rodriguez, 35, pleaded guilty five months ago to damaging and disrupting an international airport, and to being a felon and unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm.

On February 1, 2022, police found Torres-Rodriguez passed out inside a car parked outside of Charles B. Wheeler Airport north of downtown Kansas City. He came to and resisted when officers tried to take him into custody. He then crashed his car through a gate and drove onto the runway, reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour. The chase ended when he tried to cross over the airstrip into a grassy area.

The incident shut down the airport for 40 minutes, keeping airplanes from landing and taking off.

Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport served as Kansas City’s main airport until Kansas City International Airport (MCI) opened in 1972.

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