Anthony Bush/Topeka Capital-Journal
Elbert “Woody” Davis Jr. attacked Osage County Economic Development Director Stephanie Watson Monday late afternoon, and within an hour, was dead after his minivan crashed in south Topeka.

Catherine Faimon | Publisher

OSAGE COUNTY — A Topeka man is dead and an Osage County woman was recovering from serious injuries at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center, Topeka, after an assault Monday evening about seven miles northwest of Lyndon.

Elbert "Woody" Davis Jr.According to Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn, at 5:09 p.m. Monday, Stephanie Watson, 41, rural Scranton, drove to the sheriff’s office in Lyndon with a small caliber gun shot wound to her head and multiple stab wounds in her upper torso. The sheriff said Watson had been attacked by an acquaintance who had come to her house for an unknown reason. The man was later identified as Elbert “Woody” Davis Jr., 61, Topeka. Watson was home alone at the time of the attack. She is Osage County Economic Development Director.

Watson fled to the sheriff’s office after escaping, while Davis was still in her house, at 1331 W. 197th Street. She was transported by American Medical Response to Stormont-Vail in serious condition. Tuesday morning, Herald-Chronicle staff spoke with Watson about the attack; she said Davis had come to her house to pick up a kitten.

Watson was able to provide a vehicle description to sheriff’s officers and an attempt to locate the vehicle ensued. Incidentally, an Osage County sheriff’s officer had just pulled Davis over for unsafe driving near 165th Street along U.S. Highway 75. When the officer was notified by Dunn that his assistance was needed at an emergency, he released Davis, not knowing that Davis was the subject of the emergency, an attempted murder.

Within one minute, that same officer began pursuit of Davis, who was driving a gold minivan. Davis continued driving north on U.S. 75, as the officer attempted to stop the vehicle. Dunn said the pursuit began near the Four Corners junction in Osage County and ended approximately five to seven minutes later, in Shawnee County, with speeds never going over 70 to 75 mph on the highway.

Osage County and Shawnee County deputies were involved in the pursuit, which ended when Davis’ minivan hit a concrete pillar at the 49th Street overpass. The minivan caught fire and authorities pulled Davis, who was by himself, from the vehicle. He died at the scene. Dunn confirmed that a kitten was found alive in the minivan at the scene of the crash.

Northbound lanes of U.S. 75 were closed for several hours while the Kansas Highway Patrol investigated the crash.

“The highway patrol is still investigating the cause of the car accident, why the car veered off the road,” Dunn said. “All of that is a big question mark.”

In an online article written by The Topeka Capital-Journal staff, Davis was identified as a popular local musician, known as “Big Woody.” He was a musical performer at the 2009 Smoke in the Spring barbecue event in Osage City, under the name Big Woody Blues Revue. He promoted his music on a website, www.big-woody.com . According to Shawnee County District Court records, Davis was divorced from his wife in July.

As of Tuesday, no weapons had been recovered and Dunn said there would be no charges filed in the case. Tuesday afternoon, a hospital spokesperson said Watson had been treated and released from the hospital.