1 killed, 2 injured in Grand Island crash

December 22, 2017

A car reported stolen in Grand Island crashed as it was being tracked by authorities, killing the driver and injuring two others.

Jose Ortiz Jr., 27, of Grand Island died in the crash. Miles Margritz, 28, of Kearney was taken to a Grand Island hospital in critical condition and then transferred to a Lincoln hospital.

Ryan Flagg, 31, of Grand Island suffered minor injuries.

Police said they received a report of a stolen vehicle at 6:20 a.m. and then received another report about a crash at 6:55 a.m. at U.S. Highway 281 and Old Potash Highway.

The crash occurred as part of “a pursuit situation,” said Hall County Attorney Jack Zitterkopf. A witness reported that the stolen vehicle was speeding.

The Nebraska State Patrol, Grand Island police and Hall County sheriff’s deputies were involved to some degree in trying to stop the vehicle, Zitterkopf said. He said he believes a grand jury will be called to investigate the accident.

Nebraska law mandates that a grand jury be called if a person dies while in custody or while being pursued by law enforcement.

Authorities did not clarify what they meant by “pursuit situation.”

Authorities also said a 27-year-old Grand Island woman was arrested in connection with the incident. She was later released while the investigation continues, authorities said.

The World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.