Kansas Man Leads Authorities On High Speed Police Chase Through East Texas

It started as routine traffic stop on Highway 80 near Hallsville. 22-year old Eric Kerns was behind the wheel of A 1996 Acura NSX-T, valued at over $100,000. But this wasn't Kerns personal ride. He allegedly stole the car from a body shop in Osage City, Kansas.

"The vehicle is high performance. It will go much faster than 140 miles per hour. But with traffic and everything, it slowed Kerns down. He was actually headed to Florida, he was going to race the vehicle for money,"said Cindy Dowler, Investigator for the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

Officials said Kerns, who worked at Pizza Hut, had stolen money from the night deposit before he picked up the sports car and hit the road.

Along the way Kerns picked up a hitchhiker who had no idea the ride he was in store for.

"He told his passenger that the vehicle was stolen from Kansas. So, this poor boy got in, went on the ride of his life and all he needed was a ride to the gas station," said Dowler.

Once the chase began, Kerns drove at excessive speeds, weaving in and out of traffic.

"He was clearly a danger to everyone else on the road. The officers felt that had to throw the spikes out to stop him, before he hurt himself or someone else."

Unfortunately, the spikes didn't work so, the officers had to use other measures.

"One of the officers shot the back window out and then a few miles up the road he shot the tire out and they finally had to pull over."

The chase ended on I- 20, east of Highway 31, and authorities said it's a joy ride that Kerns won't be able to take again.

"This boy is a thrill seeker. He did exactly what he wanted to do. He was wanting to know if this was going to be aired on Cops and when he could watch it."

Authorities tell us that Kern's innocent passenger was terrified of being arrested after the chase ended. He was of course released and is doing fine.

Fortunately, no one was injured during the chase.

LaKecia Shockley, Reporting. lshockley@kltv.com