Two people dead in car chase that ended in Fallon

Steve Ranson/Lahontan Valley NewsPolice officials at the scene of an accident that left two people dead early Thursday.

Steve Ranson/Lahontan Valley NewsPolice officials at the scene of an accident that left two people dead early Thursday.

FALLON - Two people are dead as a result of an early morning car chase that began in Mineral County and ended in Fallon with a head-on crash between two compact vehicles on North Taylor Street (U.S. Highway 95) near the intersection of U.S. Highway 50.

Initially, a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper at the scene had reported three people were killed.

He said Taylor Street will be closed for a portion of today as investigators sift through the scene.

Trooper Chuck Allen, spokesman for the Nevada Highway Patrol, said the incident occurred shortly after 5 a.m. when Walker River Tribal Patrol stopped a vehicle for going 80 mph in a 40-mph zone on the reservation.

Allen said the driver and a passenger of the PT Cruiser got out of his car with their hands raised. However, the passenger jumped into the car, climbed over the console and sped away.

A high-speed pursuit then covered the 40 miles from the Walker River Indian Reservation to Fallon that resulted in at least one pickup being run off the highway near Dairy Queen.

Allen said Tribal Police radioed for assistance with the NHP, but an officer was not on duty in the area. As a result, the Churchill County Sheriff's Office assisted.

The PT Cruiser collided with a Hyundai at the corner of Taylor and Center streets.

"Sometime after that collision, the vehicle came to rest and shots ensued between the suspect and a Churchill County deputy and three tribal policemen," Allen said.

Allen said at this time he cannot speculate how the driver of the Cruiser was killed.

"The evidence suggests the driver may have taken his life, but shots were exchanged.

A CCSO deputy was injured, and Allen said shards of glass from the cruiser's windshield may have hit the officer in the face. Sheriff Ben Trotter, who was with the deputy at Banner Churchill Community Hospital has identified him as Ken Catlin.

Three people were thought to have been killed, but the number was reduced when it was learned the first driver was taken into custody in Mineral County. Allen said the driver is being held in Mineral County jail.

Allen said the FBI may defer the investigation to the NHP because the majority of the incident happened off the reservation. He said the Department of Public Safety investigation team will probably take the lead because multiple jurisdictions are involved. Police have blocked off South Taylor Street and are treating the site as a

crime scene.

Witnesses who live near Taylor and Center streets said they heard the two vehicles crash and after law enforcement arrived at the scene, they then heard gunfire. The witnesses said they saw police officers cover two bodies with plastic.

"We heard a shot and saw an officer with a gun," said Ron Mason. "We think two people were killed because we saw them covered with plastic."

Allen said officers covered both vehicles with tarps because the bodies remained inside.

"We heard a big crash," said Denise Mason. "Then we heard all the sirens and (saw) police officers getting out of their cars."

Ron Mason said they have lived in the duplex for about 10 years, and this is the worst (accident) they have seen.

Fallon Police Department was on the scene in addition to paramedics from Banner Churchill Community Hospital and the Fallon Churchill Fire Department.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment