A manhunt was called off Thursday night after an extensive search northeast of Arkansas City for two people who did not pull over for a traffic stop. But authorities were back on the scene Friday morning searching by ground and air.

Two suspects fled police around 5 p.m. Thursday in a red pickup through a portion of Cowley County, east of Strother Field. The driver reportedly drove through some fields and unmarked areas during the chase, according to scanner communications. 

The vehicle pursuit ended when the truck got stuck in the mud and the pair fled on foot in a wooded area east of 111th and 252nd Roads. 

The pursuit started after the driver of the truck did not pull over on traffic violations, Sheriff Dave Falletti said on Friday, but also involved somebody with a warrant. Falletti said he did not want to release the name at this time.

“We have an idea who they are, and we’re following up on that right now,” he said Friday morning.

Trackers on Thursday found some signs of where one or more of the suspects had been, and where they possibly went, according to radio communications.

 “It got dark on us pretty quick,” Falletti said of the incident. “We’re just not sure where they went.”

The maroon Chevy pickup was hauled off private property from near the Walnut River. Bruton’s Towing Service initially showed up and found that they needed four-wheel drive to dislodge the vehicle from the crash site. 

Express Recovery sent a wrecker and was able to remove the vehicle. The truck is registered to the owner, but with the wrong tag, according to scanner records.

Cowley deputies were assisted by Kansas Highway Patrol, both on the ground and in the sky. After the vehicle pursuit Thursday night, a KHP airplane scanned the area with a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) camera for heat signatures that could be the suspects but didn’t find them. 

Air Trooper Ryan Tauer circled the area for almost two hours before the search was called off by Falletti about 8 p.m.

Tauer said the residents in the area were safe to stay at their homes after a perimeter was setup. 

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