Auburn man charged with murder in 2021 vehicle pursuit
An Auburn man has been arrested and formally charged with first-degree murder in connection with a May 2021 traffic accident that resulted in the death of a Topeka woman, Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse reported.
Robert Eugene Love Jr., 44, was arrested on Sunday on a Jackson County warrant for first-degree murder. The warrant was issued as a result of a police vehicle pursuit originated by the Holton Police Department on the night of May 27, 2021.
The pursuit ended about seven miles north of Holton at the intersection of 286th Road and U.S. Highway 75 when the vehicle Love was allegedly driving struck a southbound vehicle.
A passenger in Love’s vehicle, Shai Boyd, 26, Topeka, was killed in the incident.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies were notified of a vehicle pursuit late that night, in which a Holton police officer was in pursuit of a 2009 Dodge Avenger driven by Love, who failed to stop for the officer and continued northbound out of Holton on U.S. 75. The Avenger then reportedly headed east on 254th Road, then northbound on V Road.
Sheriff’s deputies then assisted with pursuit of the Avenger, which headed west on 286th Road and failed to stop at the road’s intersection with U.S. 75, colliding with a southbound 2018 Jeep Renegade driven by Sara Ditch of Topeka. Both vehicles left the roadway, with the Avenger landing on its side.
Boyd, a passenger in the Avenger, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Love and another passenger in the Avenger, Ciara Evertson of Topeka, were taken to a Topeka hospital for treatment of suspected serious injuries.
Ditch and her passenger, Scott Ditch of Topeka, were both taken to a Topeka hospital with injuries.
Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office deputies located Love in Shawnee County on Sunday where he was arrested, and Love is currently being held in the Jackson County Jail.
Love is being charged with 14 different counts, including murder in the first degree, three counts of aggravated battery while driving under the influence, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, interference with law enforcement, driving while suspended, driving while declared a habitual violator, reckless driving, illegal display of a license plate, driving on left in no-passing zone, improper or unsafe turn, speeding and failure to yield at stop sign or yield sign.