Thursday morning was an ordinary day for Officer Derin Richardson when he noticed a Chevrolet Cavalier with two occupants, a man and a woman, that changed lanes on Interstate 44 about 10:34 a.m. without signaling near eastbound mile marker 159 and then ran off the roadway briefly. The Cavalier got off at Exit 161, turned onto Highway Z, and stopped in the parking lot of the Cenex gas station.
Richardson got out of his patrol car and began to walk toward Cavalier. Rather than providing his license and registration, the driver, later identified as Anthony Cesar Hervas, 20, of Chicago, gunned the car’s accelerator and fled.
St. Robert police have ordered stop sticks for their patrol cars, but Gettys said his department’s officers haven’t yet gone through training to use them and they can’t be used until that training takes place. Multiple efforts were made to use stop sticks to puncture Hervas’ tires but all failed until his Cavalier got several hundred yards across the Franklin County line into St. Louis County.
While it’s no more possible to have officers train with 100 mph chases than it is to have officers experience bullets being shot past their heads, Gettys said the hundreds of hours per week spent by officers behind the wheel gives them an intensive familiarity with their vehicle and how it handles, and that can be crucial in a pursuit. “Just driving on a daily basis, their accustomed to driving,” Gettys said. “We’re officers but we’re also human beings so we’re always going to get excited, but our training prepares us for that.”
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