Thursday, July 15, 2010

Silicon Valley Mercury News

Tuesday afternoon a man decided not to pull over when a California Highway Patrol officer attempted to stop him for a simple traffic violation. The officer pursed, and about one mile later the suspect crashed into another vehicle, killing a 15-year-old. From the Silicon Valley Mercury News:

[The suspect] has 13 arrests in the county, including multiple convictions for drug use and a prior conviction for reckless driving while evading police. He was recently released from county jail, according to court records.

This guy has fled police before, which strengthens the case for strong punishment for those who do flee, even if they do not hurt or kill anyone.

As for this pursuit, it should have never happened. Although details are still hard to come by, according to the story, the pursuit took place during the afternoon in an urban setting near San Jose State University. The pursuit lasted about 1 mile, and the suspect struck the victim's car with such force, it nearly split in two. PursuitWatch.org was quoted in this story:

"What we have here is a dumb, young criminal making another poor decision," said John Phillips, a national police-pursuit critic. "We should not compound their bad decisions with our own."

Phillips, whose sister was killed in a similar situation in 2001, said that the CHP officer should not have pursued the suspect on the basis of an illegal turn.

PursuitWatch.org, Phillips' organization, advocates pursuing only those who are suspected of committing a violent crime. This is the policy of some departments, including San Jose's.

"The officer should have notified the chain of command that the vehicle did not pull over, obtain a license plate and description if possible, and turn around and turn off his/her lights," Phillips said. "Today's technology allows us to use other methods. Just because the suspect gets out of the sight of the first officer does not mean he will get away."

You can read the rest of the story HERE.