Two Hutchinson, KS, residents were killed in a high-speed chase which ended with the car hitting a semi-truck head-on at full speed just after 9:00 a.m. at US-50 and Buhler/Haven Rd.
The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the two victims as 27-year-old Wendell Hicks III, the driver and his passenger as 48-year-old Lee Billinger.
According to Newton Police, the two victims, along with a female, were suspected of shoplifting at the Newton Walmart store around 8:55 a.m.
The suspects loaded up two shopping carts and then attempted to pay for the items with fraudulent credit cards. When confronted, the three suspects left one of the carts and fled the parking lot in two cars.
Police then found that one of the vehicles was stolen. When the officers tried to make contact with that car, it took off west on US-50 at a high speed.
A chase ensued and continued into Reno County at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
As the car approached Buhler/Haven Road, the suspects tried to avoid stop sticks which had been deployed.
The car went out of control and hit the eastbound semi-truck broadside, killing Hicks and Billinger instantly.
The driver of the semi, 55-year-old Russell Craven of Sterling, was taken to Hutchinson Regional Medical Center as a precaution but was not injured.
The second car involved in the theft was found in Hutchinson and a female was reportedly spotted walking away from that vehicle.
There has been no word on whether that person has been taken into custody or questioned.
US-50 was closed for most of the day between Buhler/Haven Road and Kent Road, along with a stretch of Buhler/Haven Road from G Avenue to Illinois.