Sunday, April 3, 2011

Two pursuits, 4 innocent lives lost

Tulare County Sheriff's deputies attempted a traffic stop last week. The SUV refused to stop and deputies pursued at high speeds until the suspect stuck a car, killing a mother, father, and their 17 year-old son. From the Visalia Times Delta:

The deputy followed the SUV with lights flashing and sirens blaring, said Sheriff's Lt. Keith Douglass.

Less than two miles away, at the Akers Street intersection at Caldwell, the SUV broadsided a maroon Chevrolet Impala, killing all three occupants, police reported.

[...]

"There was a supervisor and commander monitoring the pursuit the entire time," Douglass said, in response to being asked if the pursuit was safe to continue into Visalia city limits. "It was night and there was minimal traffic."


You can read the entire story HERE. While more charges could be filed, the story identifies a parole violation potentially being the only non-chase related charge.

And in Harlington, Texas, reporter Isaac Garcia has been writing about a pursuit that lead to the death of an innocent woman.

THIS story explains the suspect was under surveillance and police observed him commiting a traffic violation. When he refused to stop, police chased. He had a gun and marijuana in the car. DETAILS are slow to emerge.

HERE Mr. Garcia explains how police have been unwilling to release their vehicular pursuit policy and further details about the chase.

He has continued to cover the story, and has another story regarding policies around the region. A few interesting quotes.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said information regarding his department’s pursuit policy is not exactly public information. He said that if he released the full details of the policy, criminals might use the information to evade arrest.

FALSE. A well known policy does not mean more suspects will flee. In the year after the City of Orlando changed their policy 118 suspects fled and 40,342 obeyed the order to stop. This is despite a well known and significantly followed change.

John Phillips, founder of Pursuitwatch.org and an advocate nationwide of safer pursuit policies, said he knows all too well of the dangers in police pursuits. In 2001, Phillips said, his sister was killed in a vehicle when police were pursuing another vehicle.

Phillips said that with the help of his website, he helped rewrite some of the pursuit polices in central Florida.

Phillips said he believes that that many pursuit policies change to be more restrictive only after the death of innocent bystanders.

Mr. Garcia did confuse a few things here. I did not start PursuitWatch.org, my father did. Further, while PursuitWatch.org did help OCSO and OPD rewrite their policy, the organization's efforts were spearheaded by Jim Phillips.

4 comments:

Kimoakane said...

The only thing I would ask is; when the shoe is on the other foot, will you be there?

When the victim who escapes their attacker from the trunk of the vehicle says, "I damaged a taillight while I was in the trunk. I figured at night, some cop is bound to stop us. I heard the sirens and the guy took off. Then, after what seemed like no more than a minute everything went quiet. The guy kept speeding for awhile then he began to slow down and then stop. He took us out of the trunk. While he was "hurting" my friend, I got loose and got away. She's dead and he's still out there somewhere.

I asked a cop, who didn't know who I was, what he thought about the chase stopping so quickly. He said if he'd been there and he knew there were victims in the car, he probably would have pursued until the car was out of sight or until the guy was caught. But for a taillight out, never again.

I was mad. A friend told me about a lawyer and he said I might have a chance, because the cops didn't do enough.

When this story hits the news, this is where you jump in and remind everybody that it's better to let one victim, who nobody knew was there, die than risk innocent lives needlessly. It's just not worth it.

Question: What if they called for help and nobody came; in a hurry?

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