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Press Release

KC Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm After Police Chase

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., man who led police officers on a high-speed chase after escaping from the hospital where he was confined pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing a firearm.

Johnny K. McDaniel, 29, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

By pleading guilty today, McDaniel admitted that he was in possession of a loaded Ruger 9mm pistol at the time of his arrest. McDaniel was placed under guard at a local hospital after his arrest but escaped and, when found a week later, led law enforcement officers on a high-speed pursuit before being recaptured.

Kansas City police officers saw McDaniel, who was driving a grey Pontiac, fail to stop for a stop sign on Feb. 20, 2017. Officers turned around to get behind his vehicle, but he drove off at a high rate of speed. The officers discovered the Pontiac crashed a short time later at the intersection of 23rd Street and Poplar Avenue. McDaniel, who was unconscious, was seated in the driver’s seat with the vehicle still running and in drive.

One of the officers reached into the vehicle, put it in park and turned off the ignition. McDaniel woke up; he appeared to be startled and attempted to put the vehicle back into drive. In response, the officer grabbed him, pulled him from the driver’s seat, and tried to handcuff him. McDaniel immediately began resisting by pulling his hands away from both officers. He tried to turn to face the officers several times, kicked and placed his hands and arms under his chest and stomach. McDaniel was eventually handcuffed and arrested for attempting to flee the scene of an accident and resisting arrest. 

McDaniel had a baggie that contained 42.4717 grams of methamphetamine in his pocket at the time of his arrest. Officers also found the Ruger pistol on the driver’s side floorboard of the Pontiac (along with a live round and a spent shell casing) and a plastic baggie that contained 1.4443 grams of marijuana on the driver’s seat.

McDaniel was transported to Truman Medical Center where he was to remain under guard. The next day, however, on Feb. 21, 2017, he escaped from the hospital.

Investigators found McDaniel on Feb. 27, 2017, driving a GMC Envoy. Officers attempted to conduct a car stop but McDaniel fled into Kansas City, Kan. During the car chase, officers saw McDaniel commit numerous traffic violations including speeding, swerving into oncoming traffic and failing to stop for traffic signals. McDaniel drove over two sets of “stop sticks” deployed by officers before finally crashing the vehicle. McDaniel and his passenger, co-defendant Victoria Harness, 27, of Kansas City, Mo., fled from the vehicle, but both were apprehended a short time later. Officers found 27.3370 grams of methamphetamine on the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. McDaniel has a prior felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance.

Harness pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced on July 30, 2018, to eight years and four months in federal prison without parole.

Under federal statutes, McDaniel is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison D. Dunning. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.

Updated August 9, 2018

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