Five days, two chases, one escape and a drone search later, man in custody

By Harvey County Now Staff

Josh Harris didn’t make it easy for the sheriff’s department to arrest him. 

On Thursday, he escaped from the Harvey County Courthouse and led a vehicle chase in downtown Newton. He led law enforcement on another chase Monday into Sedgwick County. He prompted a foot pursuit, as well as a search with a drone and a dog. 

But after five days on the run, Josh Harris, 47, now sits in the Harvey County Jail, held on a bevy of warrants, including aggravated kidnapping. 

The saga began Thursday morning when Harris appeared at a preliminary hearing for a felony drug charge at the Harvey County Courthouse. 

At the time, he had another warrant for aggravated kidnapping out of Sedgwick County. 

“He had a $100,000 bond warrant for aggravated kidnapping,” Sheriff Chad Gay said. “That’s pretty serious business.”

The court notified the sheriff’s department of the warrant, and the deputy who works security at the courthouse waited for the man to finish court and then attempted to detain him. 

“The guy came out; Jake tried to stop him; he pushed past Jake and ran out of the building,” Gay said.

Kansas Department of Corrections records list Harris as 5-feet-10-inches and 281 pounds.

“He had a vehicle parked out on Main facing north,” Gay said. “He jumped in, backed up onto Seventh Street, and turned left onto Main to go southbound.”

Gay said officers were nearby, but there was quite a bit of traffic on the streets at the time.

He said by the time the officers got near him, he had turned onto a side street. Afterwards, law enforcement was not able to find the white full-sized Dodge pickup the man was driving, and Harris escaped. 

On Monday, around 4:15 p.m., law enforcement was tipped off that Harris had been spotted seen near Nusser Fuels in the 3500 block of S. Duncan St. in Newton, according to a county press release. 

As law enforcement arrived, he fled driving south into Sedgwick County. According to the release, he later exited his vehicle on foot. 

Law enforcement deployed a drone to locate Harris, and it eventually found him in a yard in the 8100 Block of N. Hillside in Valley Center. 

“Harris turned himself over to law enforcement when the K-9 unit began to be deployed,” the release stated.

Harris was taken into custody Monday around 5:15 p.m. 

Law enforcement from the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office, Newton Police Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Valley Center Police Department and Bel Aire Police Department assisted in the arrest.

Harris is being held with no bond on pending charges, including aggravated kidnapping, possession of opiates/narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia and fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement. 

According to Kansas Department of Corrections records, this isn’t Harris’s first escape or time running.

He was convicted on charge of aggravated escape from custody conviction in 2005, as well as a fleeing/attempt to elude conviction from 2010. He also has two aggravated battery convictions from 2005, a battery against an officer conviction from 2012, burglary convictions from 2012, and theft convictions from 1994, 2010 and 2013.

Harris was previously arrested in Harvey County on Aug. 9 on a DUI charge, possession of opiates and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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