I suspect that was the case when I received a call at 4:00 AM telling me my son Paul had been killed in a car crash. That was on May 27, 2007, a lifetime ago.
And when, shortly later, I learned that his death was caused because of a totally unnecessary, minor traffic violation police pursuit, my screams increased.
And so came my entrance into the advocacy to change mindsets regarding the necessity of police pursuits for anything other than for violent felonies. I’ve been “screaming” ever since.
Well, sometimes your screams are heard. And sometimes those who hear DO want to help.
Below are links to a recently completed study and comprehensive review of police pursuits. This project was supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number 2020-CK-WX-K035 awarded to the Police Executive Research Forum by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The publication is distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the interest of information exchange
So what will become of this report and these excellent recommendations? I don’t know, but I’ll keep screaming until legislators and law enforcement hears that chasing until the wheels fall off is both stupid and danger, and changes are necessary.
Vehicle pursuits are part of what distinguishes the police from any other occupation. Hollywood has recognized this and featured pursuits in many films. Growing up, I remember watching Gene Hackman commandeer a citizen’s car and take it on a harrowing chase as an NYPD detective in “The French Connection.” But, as you all know, the reality of police pursuits is anything but glamorous.
Earlier this week you received PERF’s new report on pursuits. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal crashes involving police pursuits kill more than one person every day; 525 people were killed in 2021, and 545 were killed in 2020. According to Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) data from 2009 to 2013, 21 percent of those seriously injured in police pursuits are individuals not involved in the pursuit….
…The report contains 65 recommendations across six topics: agency philosophy and policy standards; the role of a supervisor; pursuit interventions, pursuit alternatives, and technology for managing risks; post-pursuit reporting; training; and community engagement. We recommend that agencies only pursue suspects when two conditions are met: (1) a violent crime has been committed and (2) the suspect poses an imminent threat to commit another violent crime.
I truly appreciate Jonah’s comments in this email:
On Aug 2, 2023, at 6:20 AM, Jonah wrote:
As promised, here’s a link to the story:
Thank you again for agreeing to chat with me for the story, your expertise and perspective was extremely valuable.
And a HUGE thank you for alerting me to the flaws in police pursuit reporting data. After our conversation, I began taking a closer look at the injury reports I’d received through my record requests and noticed several missing deadly pursuits. I reached out to the MPD for comment on those, and it turns out they initially gave me a bad batch of data which under-reported third party deaths and injuries and over-reported police injuries. They issued updated and corrected numbers just a few hours before we were set to publish. I probably wouldn’t have caught those flaws if it weren’t for your comments on faulty data.
Reading Time: 10minutesNews414 is a service journalism collaboration between Wisconsin Watch and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service that addresses the specific issues, interests, perspectives and information needs identified by residents of central city Milwaukee neighborhoods. Learn more at our website or sign up for our texting service her
Correction: A previous version of this story included an incorrect figure for the number of fatal Milwaukee police pursuits in 2023 and incorrect percentages of pursuits ending in injuries from 2007 to 2022.
At 1:06 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2019, Le’Quon McCoy was driving through a North Side Milwaukee intersection when the driver of a stolen Buick Encore ran a flashing red light and crashed into McCoy’s Jeep Renegade.
The speeding driver, who was fleeing police, hit McCoy’s Jeep so hard that it bounced off a tree on one side of the road and into a parked car on the other side. McCoy, 19, died at the scene.
“He got off work around like 9 or 10 at night. He stopped here to see me,” his mother, Antoinette Broomfield recalled. READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE
adminMilwaukee Police Department’s in the News – and not in a good way.
May 27, 2023 is the 16th anniversary of Paul Farris‘ and Walid Chahine’s deaths, and my heart has never been the same.
They were killed by a man fleeing police (#PoliceChase) – running through the dark and densely packed streets of Somerville, MA. The fleeing man was driving at 75 miles per hour, pursued by a State Trooper, when he broadsided the taxi driven by Walid and in which Paul and Katelyn were passengers. Paul was thrown from the taxi and died immediately. Walid was grievously injured and passed a week later. Kate survived, hospitalized for months, with doctors saying it was a miracle she lived.
Fast forward to April, 2023. The man who stole Paul and Walid’s lives walked away from prison, free but on parole for the next 15 years. I hope, with all of my heart, that he doesn’t drive again and doesn’t endanger your sons, daughters, moms, dads, best friends or others…
We miss you, Paul.
Music was a huge part of Paul’s life, as it is for me. I dream that Paul is still playing and singing his music – in a better place.
Paul Farris singing – circa 2005
I think if Paul was still here that he’d be horrified by the death and destruction in Ukraine. Here’s a song by his college band, theMark.
I’m so tired Of guns on my mind Lives fall away When shells and tempers fly.
And if I should die When stars and stripes collide And every soldier loses faith in flight.
Stay home next time And keep your shoes tied.
Many different songs remind me of Paul. And many bring tears even after so long. Two are linked here.
Riverside “Towards the Blue Horizon”
Where are you now my friend? I miss those days I hope they take good care of you there And you can still play the guitar And sing your songs I just miss those days And miss you so Wish I could be strong When darkness comes
All these words that I left unspoken I will say when I meet you again. I see you but I can’t feel your presence I feel you but you’re fading away.
There is simply NO REASON for law enforcement to be elevating a Walmart theft into a DANGEROUS POLICE PURSUIT the endangers so many innocent citizens.
Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved with this situation. Thankfully and luckily, no bystanders were injured or killed. Law enforcement agencies must create smarter and stricter pursuit policies so this just does not happen.
41-Year-Old Arrested for High-Speed Chase after 20 Dollar Walmart Theft
A high-speed chase occurred after a theft at Walmart around 2 pm on Monday.
According to early reports a call from Walmart to a person who had stolen several items including a hat, deodorant, and other small items with the possibility of leaving the store. Associates attempted to stop the suspect but he pushed through running out of the store.
He got into a White Sonata that was waiting for him and left the parking lot that’s when the sheriff’s department attempted to stop the vehicle in front of Taco Bell on US-23 but instead of stopping he put his foot on the gas.
Jon Farris, Chief Advocate at Pursuit for Change, is asked about this very dangerous #PoliceChase and unsuccessful PIT maneuver. As we told Mr. Arenas, based upon the information available the pitting of this suspect in traffic represented an extreme danger for everyone driving nearby. It is very lucky that no one was killed.
“All of a sudden out of nowhere, we hear tires screeching and a loud bang. Then, we see the car go past us all. Shrapnel from both cars the police SUV and the suspect’s car was just everywhere,” said Hall, of Aurora.
See the video and read the rest of the story HERE.
“Jonathan Farris, an advocate for the nonprofit Pursuit for Change, an organization that pushes for safer police pursuit policies, called the Santa Fe Police Department’s chase policy vague and said it doesn’t give much direction for when an officer should give up on a pursuit.”
Pursuit policy questioned after deaths in I-25 crash
By Sean P. Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org Mar 19, 2022 Updated Mar 20, 2022
Jeannine Jaramillo’s alleged crimes in Santa Fe and Cibola counties within months of each other are strikingly similar: stolen cars, reckless chases and claims of a kidnapper or male aggressor who doesn’t appear to exist.
The outcomes widely differ.
When Jaramillo was suspected of leading Cibola County deputies into oncoming traffic at high speeds in September 2021, they called off the pursuit. They later found the stolen vehicle at a residence and took Jaramillo into custody, according to records of the case.
FBI tactical squad members approach a command center March 2 on Interstate 25 near Old Pecos Trail after a Santa Fe police officer and another motorist, a retired firefighter, were killed in a multiple-car crash during a police pursuit. Jim Weber/New Mexican file photo
We have asked Mr. Thomas to post one correction. This statement “Farris, whose son Paul Farris was killed in 2007 when a cab he was riding in was struck by a Massachusetts state trooper chasing a driver suspected of a traffic violation…” is incorrect. In actuality, the cab Paul was riding in was struck by the fleeing driver’s SUV, and not by the Trooper. An important clarification.
adminPursuit policy questioned after deaths in I-25 crash
Posted: Feb 23, 2022 / 04:32 PM EST
Updated: Feb 23, 2022 / 04:37 PM EST
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Just after midnight Dec. 4, a 22-mile police pursuit from Tusculum to Johnson City, Tenn. ended in the death of A Pearson, a completely uninvolved motorist.
A car driven by Christian Morrow and pursued by a Tusculum Police Department (TPD) officer and the TPD chief after Morrow passed the officer at 104 miles per hour lost control and crashed into Pearson’s car. Pearson died at the scene, while Morrow is in jail on other charges as an investigation into the accident that caused Pearson’s death continues.
November 08, 2021 at 11:07 pm EST
By Ted Daniel, Boston 25 News
Note from PFC: At 101 miles per hour the Trooper’s SUV was traveling more than 148 feet per second and can cover a half mile in just 20 seconds. Innocent victim Sarah Stevens should never have been put in this situation.
The trooper was racing to join a pursuit several towns away, MSP documents show
LEOMINSTER, Mass. — She was on her commute back home to Fitchburg that January night last year when Sarah Stevens says her life was changed.
The 30-year-old emergency room nurse stopped at the Wendy’s on N. Main Street in Leominster following a 12-hour shift at Lowell General and was exiting the parking lot when, she says, the sudden and violent impact happened. An unmarked state police cruiser slammed into the driver’s side of her Ford Focus.
Sarah Stevens (photos from Boston25 News)
The January 29, 2020 crash totaled her car and shattered her body.
“I know that I was in the coma for about a week. I fractured my shoulder, had eight broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a bleeding kidney,” recalled Stevens. “I had brain bleeds, a dissected carotid artery. They also had to go in and put a coil in my kidney to stop the bleeding.”
See the video and read the rest of the story HERE.
adminTrooper was traveling 100+ mph before slamming into car
Last year I posted a note about Paul’s birthday. It’s so hard to believe that another year has passed us by. I thought, given the world’s issues, I’d post an updated version of that note.
Peace. – Jonathan Farris, Dad, Gatekeeper of PaulFarris.org and Chief Advocate of Pursuit For Change
Some of our readers will envision this particular Tuesday as a year after the United States’ most contentious Presidential election. And that contention continues today through lies and hate. Paul would be appalled.
Some of our readers remain anxious about the pandemic and the devastation caused to individuals, families, countries and the world. As of my writing this, 769,299 people have died in the US and over 5,000,000have died worldwide. Horrible beyond mere words.
But on November 2, 2021 I take a moment to forget the noise, to forget the pandemic, and instead focus on wonderful memories.
Paul Farris was stolen from us in 2007. And 2021 will be the 15th missed birthday. This is unimaginable to me.
We would have mailed or emailed Paul a cute birthday card, texted him a funny greeting and then spoken to him after work. The way it’s supposed to be.
He would be heartbroken that such a horrendous chapter of history continues in 2021. However, I suspect that in addition to being despondent, he’d be engaged doing whatever he could to make a better future for all of us.
Or perhaps he’d just be sitting around drinking beer. We’ll never know…
Just like every birthday, and indeed every single day, we miss you immensely.
City Council committee to consider police pursuit changes
UPDATED 14 HRS AGO | POSTED ON JUN 28, 2021
ATLANTA (CBS46) — Joi and Doug Partridge will never forget the day they lost their two children Cameron and Layla, and Joi’s mother, Dorothy Wright. Wright was driving her grandchildren to church when she was hit by the driver of a stolen car fleeing from police in 2016 in Southwest Atlanta.
“It really hurts because I lost my parent and my two kids,” Joi Partridge told CBS46’s Hayley Mason.
Police said officers attempted to stop a stolen vehicle on the 9900 block of West Good Hope Road shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, but it instead led them on a chase and eventually crossed over into oncoming traffic. Police said the pursuit was then terminated, but the car continued to drive against traffic and hit another vehicle head-on at 50 to 60 miles an hour
Officer Irvine’s death was completely preventable.
But instead, Milwaukee chose to double down and chase even more stolen vehicles, KNOWINGLY ENDANGERINGmany many citizens each and every time.
So FOUR YEARS after making a truly CRITICAL MISTAKE, Milwaukee continues to endanger, maim and kill citizens while NOT solving anything. Is this incompetence or simply a blatant disregard for the area’s population?
PS: Oh, I almost forgot. Milwaukee is working on yet more billboards. Just brilliant…
From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article above:
“A cadre of city officials announced a new billboard campaign discouraging reckless driving. And they all touched on the troubling problem of people as young as 12 years old stealing cars and using them for joyriding and driving dangerously.”
Oklahoma City family questions police pursuit that killed pregnant mom Star Shells
by Josh Dulaney, The Oklahoman
She kept the burial flag of her grandfather, a U.S. Army veteran, in her car window, and it was that flag, in pieces and scattered on the northeast Oklahoma City street, that signified Star Shells was dead.
Shells’ mother, Connie Basco, got the call Monday morning, shortly after Shells, 28, dropped her two young sons off at John W. Rex Charter School and was on her way home.
There had been a police chase, ending in a violent car wreck at Martin Luther King Avenue and NE 16. It scattered car parts along an entire city block. Basco arrived on the scene, desperate for answers.
Chicago: Police vehicle chases end in crashes two-thirds of the time
By Sharon Hoyer
May 17, 2021
In March, @StreetsblogChi took a look at police vehicle chases and the Chicago Police Department’s policy that asks officers to apply an in-the-moment, mental “balancing test” to weigh the necessity of immediately apprehending a suspect against the inherent danger of motor vehicle pursuit. A trove of recently hacked City Hall emails further illustrated the extreme danger and high cost of police vehicle chases.
On May 12, the Chicago Sun-Times’ David Struett reported that, according to a confidential report made public by the hack, two-thirds police chases in 2019 – 180 of 270 total – ended in crashes, and in eight cases people died.
by José Rodríguez Jr. @jrodriguezjr
The Chicago Sun-Times recently wrote about how bad car crashes have gotten in Chicago, Illinois. Except it’s not regular motorists who are causing all the mayhem; it’s the police. Specifically, it’s police chases that are causing all the accidents.
Chicago recorded 270 chases in 2019, and 180 of these ended in either loss of property, loss of human life or both, per the Chicago Sun-Times. Eight drivers died in these car crashes from 2019. In other words, two out of three police chases in the city that year ended in a car crash and one in 23 of those were fatal.
by Jonathan Farris
Dad and Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change
February 23, 2021
As Though We Don’t Have Enough To Deal With
For any parent who has lost a child, regardless of that child’s age, there’s a gnawing ache that never completely goes away.
When the death first occurs and for several years afterwards, the wound is incredibly raw. Then, as years progress, many parents (definitely not all) learn to manage the pain and sorrow and move toward a more “normal” life.
This is what I call the “new normal” – because there will never again be the old normal…
The journey along this new normal has many speed bumps. Even after 14 years, for me music is a trigger for tears and moments sorrow. This is a regular occurrence and I’ve learned to simply go with it. The triggered event may last a minute or may last longer, but thankfully the new normal generally follows.
Because Paul was a victim of a crime (fleeing and officer in a police pursuit), our new normal includes issues surrounding the individual who killed Paul.
More than three years after Paul was killed (May 2007) we spoke at the trial. He was sentenced to 15-20 years plus 15 years additional probation for his crimes.
In early 2020, seemingly out of the blue, we received notification he was eligible for parole. Yep, an unexpected trigger event!
With help from many, we provided the parole board with convincing information that he should not be released early and they denied his release. But parole hearings often become an annual affair, as was the case with Paul’s killer.
On Monday I attended a Zoom Parole Board hearing for him. There were several parole board members, a victim’s advocate (the individual who helps guide us through the legal system maze), me, and “him.”
I won’t go into any more details, but after the hearing the parole board voted against early release.
So another trigger event can be tabled until next year, when we’ll likely go through the process again.
For all of you who knew Paul and who supported us through this ongoing journey, THANK YOU. This is a journey that’s virtually impossible without support from friends and family.
By Jonathan Farris, Dad and Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change
Many of our readers will envision this particular Monday as the day before one of the United States’ most contentious Presidential elections.
Some of our readers are worried about the COVID19 pandemic and devastation caused to individuals, families, countries and the world. As of my writing this, 234,000 people have died in the US and 1,200,000 have died worldwide. Horrible beyond mere words.
But on November 2, 2020 I will take a moment to forget this election, to forget the pandemic, and to instead focus on good memories.
Paul Farris was taken from us in May of 2007. And 2020 will be his 14th missed birthday. Unimaginable.
I suspect given the current state of things, we would have emailed Paul a silly card, texted a funny greeting and then spoken to him when he finished work.
He would be heartbroken that such a horrendous chapter of history is being written in 2020. However, I suspect that in addition to being despondent, he’d be engaged doing whatever he could to make a better future for our world.
Or perhaps he’d just be sitting around drinking beer. We’ll never know…
Just like every birthday, and indeed every day, we miss you immensely.
Hamilton County Police Association (Cincinnati Metro Area) Police Pursuit Symposium / WCPO interview
Jon Farris, Chief Advocate for Pursuit for Change, was a featured presenter at the August 19, 2020 Cincinnati Metro Area Police Pursuit Symposium.
Jon spoke about being a grieving father, a police pursuit victim, an advocate for reducing pursuits, a cheerleader for Pursuit Reduction Technology and a strong supporter of law enforcement. This was an excellent, three-hour symposium with tremendous involvement by over 60 command-level officers from throughout the county. Thanks to Lt. Steve Saunders from the CPD for allowing me to participate.
Additionally, Jon was interviewed by Craig Cheatham, Executive Producer/Chief Investigative Reporter of the WCPO 9 I-Team in Cincinnati. Thanks to Craig for this terrific update.
Kinda weird. Hitting golf balls at the range and listening to music today. On comes Paul singing the band Thursday’s Understanding in a Car Crash (Paul’s version is here: https://paulfarris.org/paul-music-2/).
I mean, really. It’s Thursday and him singing about a car crash… <:(
Sadly, in our current all-too-divisive country and world, many people will read this article and say, “So what, it was just some illegal aliens.”
So to them we say, those were REAL PEOPLE. They had/have families and friends who love them.
How would you feel if a drunk was driving your family or friends and made the stupid decision to flee? This happens regularly. Would it be OK if police chased and as a result YOUR FAMILY was killed or grievously injured? No, it would not be OK.
YOU WOULD BE OUTRAGED.
The Border Patrol chases regularly, and with impunity. This is wrong. Many, if not most of those pursuits, could be eliminated with a stricter and smarter pursuit policy, significantly more driver training for Border Patrol Officers and much greater usage of Pursuit Reduction Technology.
Border Patrol Agent Speaks Out About A High-Speed Chase That Ended In An Immigrant’s Death
by Debbie Nathan
February 28 2020, 7:00 a.m.
A FEW MINUTES BEFORE midnight on January 29, an Ecuadorian man was killed in a car crash near downtown El Paso, Texas, only yards from the U.S.-Mexico border. An Ecuadorian woman was gravely hurt and weeks later is just emerging from a coma. She’s missing part of her skull and half of her body appears to be paralyzed. Stuck in a hospital thousands of miles from her kin, she has had few visitors, but one has been a Border Patrol agent who feels grief-stricken by the accident and believes the Border Patrol played a major role in causing it. The agent recently had an emotional meeting with a family member of the severely injured woman and offered to testify if the family brings a lawsuit.
Police reports say the crash was caused by a drunk driver who picked up the Ecuadorians after they crossed into the U.S. illegally. The driver is said to have been a smuggler who was speeding to evade the Border Patrol, and crashed because he was driving too fast. But the agent says that the chase was improper. It occurred near downtown El Paso on West Paisano Drive, on a section of road so prone to crashes that local law enforcement officers call it a “deadly curve.”
Wisconsin State Senator Chris Kapenga stated on February 19, 2020 in news release, “Car thefts (are) increasing in 8 of the 10 most populous (Wisconsin) counties.” Here is the proposed WI Legislation that increases the penalties for vehicle theft, reckless driving, and fleeing an officer:https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/proposals/sb769
The PFC take on this legislation?
We believe that legislation INCREASING PENALTIES for individuals (criminals) who fail to stop for a law enforcement officer (LEO) is good policy. The same can be said for vehicle theft and reckless driving penalties.
However, where this legislation falls woefully short is relating to the EVER INCREASING NUMBER OF DANGEROUS #POLICECHASES that are occurring in Wisconsin, often as a result of these types of crimes.
If our elected officials REALLY WANT TO PROTECT CITIZENS AND LEO’S from unnecessary injuries and death, then implement STRONGER PURSUIT POLICIES, limiting police chases to only the most violent felony actions, and NOT FOR STOLEN CARS OR PROPERTY THEFT.
Yes, auto theft is up in most large Wisconsin counties, though down statewide
The issue of reckless driving has gained urgency as lawmakers, police and residents grapple with how to get a handle on increasing danger on neighborhood streets.
One approach: Crack down on auto theft.
In Milwaukee and elsewhere, the police pursuit of stolen vehicles has led to accidents, including a Feb. 1, 2020 incident in Wauwatosa, when a stolen car being pursued by Milwaukee police crashed into a tree.
State Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, introduced a bill to address auto theft that, among other things, increases penalties for reckless driving, fleeing an officer and vehicle theft. The measure won Senate approval Feb. 19, 2020 on a 19-14 vote and was sent to the Assembly.
In a news release that day, Kapenga argued: “Reckless driving and car thefts have been a major issue not only in Milwaukee County but also across the state with car thefts increasing in 8 of the 10 most populous counties.”
Is Kapenga right?
When asked for backup, Kapenga’s chief of staff Kyle Koenen pointed to the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Uniform Crime Reporting Database. READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE
It’s been a while since I posted a note. Apologies, but life has and continues to get in the way of my advocacy efforts.
I do, however, want to give you a brief update on the “justice system.”
In the early morning of May 27, 2007 a man named Javier Morales killed my son. It was a collision by this guy’s SUV, being pursued by a Massachusetts State Trooper for an illegal u-turn. Morales was doing 76MPH when he broadsided the taxi. The rest is too horrible to describe again, so I shall not.
Four years after Paul’s and Walid Chahine’s deaths, Morales was sentenced to prison for two concurrent sentences of 15-20 years, with dispensation for time already served. The “15” portion of that 15-20 year sentence is supposed to be THE EARLIEST that Morales would be eligible for parole. So, doing the math, we should not expect anything about a parole hearing until May 23, 2022.
So imagine my family’s horror when, in late 2019 we received a letter from the Parole Board’s stating that his first parole hearing would be in 2020.
I won’t get into the details of why he was eligible for parole early, but suffice it to say the criminal justice system needs plenty of work.
So now we’ll deal with this additional insanity every year. Yes, many pains simply remain forever.
We miss you, Paul.
Here is the post-hearing ruling from the Parole Board:
Dear Mr. Farris:
The Parole Board conducted a parole hearing for the above named offender and has voted to deny parole release. Inmates for whom the Board has denied parole may appeal the decision within 30 days or request reconsideration after 90 days.
If there is any change in the Board’s decision, you will be notified. The Parole Board conducts an annual review hearing for those individuals who have been denied parole. The offender will be scheduled for a parole hearing each year until parole is granted or the sentence is completed.
If the offender completes his sentence before his next scheduled parole hearing, the correctional facility will be responsible for informing you of the release. Please be advised, this offender may be eligible for mandatory release to supervision pursuant to M.G.L. c.127, §130B. If this does occur, you will be notified 14 days prior to the date of release to supervision. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.
Here’s the Farris family’s pre-hearing letter to the Parole Board:
RE: Javier Morales
Dear Members of the Massachusetts Parole Board,
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to express our great concerns regarding a possible early parole for Javier Morales, the individual who killed our son Paul Farris.
We are Jonathan, Roberta and Scott Farris, Paul Farris’ parents and brother.
At 4:30 AM on May 27, 2007 we received a call that no family should ever get – an emergency room doctor telling us our son had been killed in a car crash several hours earlier. There are simply no words to explain what that call was like. From that instant, and for every day since, our lives have been inexorably transformed for the worse.
Our incredible son and brother, Paul, was taken from our lives and from the lives of so many others who knew and loved him. We have not, nor shall we ever, heal from the emotional scars caused directly by a career criminal, Javier Morales.
We invite you to view Paul’s memorial website PaulFarris.org, to see, to hear and to better understand who we forever lost.
The police chase that killed Paul started with an illegal U-turn by Morales and his subsequent fleeing from a State Trooper. As a result of this, we are active with Pursuit For Change (PursuitForChange.org), an organization which advocates for stricter pursuit policies and for greater usage of pursuit reduction technology.
When Paul was killed, it took several days to learn what had happened that night; to learn how Paul Farris and Walid Chahine were killed and why Katelyn Hoyt was so severely injured that she nearly died and spent years recovering.
Paul is dead because Morales was once again driving illegally. Paul is dead because Morales illegally fled from a State Trooper and that trooper engaged Morales in a high-speed pursuit.
Paul was an amazing young man. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University in 2006 and was working as an insurance claims adjuster. He had taken his LSATs and planned to attend law school in 2008. Paul had absolutely everything going for him. Javier Morales killed him.
This was not an “accident,” but rather Morales’ deliberate and criminal flight from the police that caused Paul’s death. The borrowed SUV was going 76 mph, without headlights, on a narrow street in the most densely populated city in all New England. Whether Javier Morales had fired a gun that night or because he drove a 4,000-pound SUV that ripped Paul from the taxi – the result was the death of both Paul and Walid Chahine. Javier Morales killed them. Additionally, Katelyn Hoyt was so severely injured that she was unconscious for nearly four weeks. She remained in Massachusetts General Hospital for four months and continued rehabilitation with her parents in New York before finally being able to return to Boston.
As you can see from Morales’ lengthy arrest historybelow, since 1995 he drove illegally many times; he committed other crimes; he hurt people; and never displayed even the slightest remorse.
It is frighteningly obvious to us that when Morales is released from prison he will slide behind the wheel of a car. He will drive illegally. He will certainly run if pursued by law enforcement. And he will most assuredly injure, maim or kill another innocent victim.
From the summary below you can see Morales’ criminal history and the inordinate number of times he was given another chance, released and forgiven. And as a result of those previous decisions, on May 27, 2007 he crossed the threshold from petty criminal to murderer.
He deliberately ran from the police while illegally driving, and at that time our son and Scott’s brother, Paul Farris and Walid Chahine were both killed.
In 2011, after waiting several years for Morales to be deemed mentally competent to stand trial, he received two sentences of 15-20 years to be served concurrently. That was a very small price to pay for killing two innocent bystanders (Paul & Walid) and for the grievous injuries to a third victim (Katelyn).
Even taking into account time served beginning on May 27, 2007, Morales has served less than 13 years of his sentence. And he has done virtually nothing to redeem or better himself during these 12-plus years in prison.
Releasing Morales before he serves at least the minimum 15-year sentence would be a travesty and a great injustice to Paul, Walid, Katelyn and our grieving families. Morales skated away from far too many arrests and convictions, most for driving illegally, and there is simply no valid reason for him to be released early.
From the bottom of our hearts, we implore you to deny Morales’ parole.
Jonathan, Roberta & Scott Farris
Javier Morales’ arrest history (as of 5/29/2007)
When Javier Morales faced his first adult arraignment on May 24, 1995, it was twelve years before the fatal May 27, 2007 crash involving Jessica LeBlanc’s father’s car driven by Morales. Our son Paul Farris, one victim of the 2007 crash, was 14 the first time his accused murder stood before a judge.
These are the charges Morales has stood before judges on:
On May 24, 1995 Morales was arraigned in South Boston District Court for a compulsory insurance violation and operating a motor vehicle without a license. Morales defaulted, did not show up to court to answer for the charges and warrants were issued. Both charges were dismissed on May 1, 2001.
On Aug. 23, 1995 Morales was arraigned in Brookline District Court and charged with a compulsory insurance violation. The case was closed on Sept. 22, 1995 when the case was ruled nolle prosequi, which means the charges were dismissed as if they had never been brought because of insufficient evidence.
On May 24, 1996 Morales was arraigned in Dedham District Court and charged with trespassing. The trial was continued until Aug 7, 1999 and charges were continued without finding, which means the accused does not have a guilty plea entered on his or her record, but must comply with terms of probation. One year later, Morales defaulted on an order to pay court costs and a fine to the victim witness fund and a default warrant was issued. Four days later, the warrant was withdrawn and police dropped the charges on Sept. 3, 1997.
Morales was arraigned on Aug. 12, 1997 in Lynn District Court for disorderly conduct. The trial was continued until Oct. 3, 1997 and the charge was continued without finding. On April 3, 1998 Morales was sentenced to community service and ordered to pay a fine to the witness victim fund.
On Feb. 3, 1998 Morales appeared in court on allegations that he had violated his probation, which was terminated on April 14, 1998.
On Feb. 3, 1998 Morales was in Lynn District Court answering to charges of assault and battery, a possible violation of his probation. The trial was continued and on April 14, 1998 he was found guilty and sentenced to probation. Morales defaulted on paying into the victim witness fund on Aug. 2, 1999, but the default was removed the next day and police dismissed the charge on Dec. 3, 1999.
On April 30, 2001 Morales was arraigned in West Roxbury District Court on charges of malicious destruction of property, attempted larceny, possession of burglarious tools, and breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony. His trial was continued and he was issued a one-year suspended sentence on July 17, 2001. His trial was brought forward on Oct. 12, 2001 because of a probation violation. A judge issued a violation of probation finding and continued the trial to Jan. 17, 2003 at which time Morales was ordered to pay into the victim witness fund and his probation was terminated.
On Oct. 12, 2001 Morales was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, attaching the wrong motor vehicle plates, and compulsory insurance violation. A judge ordered him to pay court costs for all three charges and the trial was continued to March 4, 2002. Morales defaulted, the default was removed, and the trial was continued to June 24, 2002. Morales defaulted again, but the default was removed on July 2, 2002 and the charges were dismissed.
On June 4, 2004 Morales was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license in Roxbury District Court. The trial was continued to Aug. 12, 2004 and a default warrant was issued when Morales did not show up. The default was removed on Sept. 14, 2004 and the trial was continued to Nov. 30, 2004. Morales again defaulted, the default was removed on Feb. 18, 2005 and the trial continued to April 29, 2005, when he defaulted again and a warrant was issued. On Dec. 1, 2005 the default was removed and the charge was dismissed.
On Oct. 14, 2004 Morales was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and knowingly receiving stolen property (a motor vehicle) in Somerville District Court. He had a jury trial and was found guilty of the license violation on Sept. 28, 2005. The other charge was dismissed. He was sentenced to a 10-day suspended sentence, which was terminated on Nov. 30, 2005.
On Nov. 17, 2005 Morales was arraigned on the charge of operating a vehicle with a suspended license in Concord District Court. He was in court on Dec. 27, 2005; Jan. 30, 2006; and on March 7, 2006 he was found guilty. Morales was sentenced to supervised probation and received a 10-day suspended sentence. He was ordered to pay a fine to the victim witness fund on Sept. 6, 2006 and defaulted on Oct. 31, 2006.
On May 29, 2007 Morales was arraigned from his hospital bed at Massachusetts General Hospital for Somerville District Court on the following charges: motor vehicular homicide by negligent operation, failure to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, larceny of a motor vehicle, operation of a motor vehicle with a suspended license (subsequent offense), 10 counts of failure to stop or yield, marked lanes violation, breakdown lane violation, motor vehicle lights violation, improper turn. He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail and a pre-trial conference has been scheduled for Jun 29, 2007.
I give special thanks for each you who support our mission to save the lives of innocent bystanders and law enforcement officers.
Don’t eat too much turkey today – that way you can eat even MORE PIE!
PS: One more thing to give thanks for today – being the opening sentence in a national paper editorial. Thank you Louisville Courier Journal (@courierjournal) and also to reporters Mandy McLaren (@mandy_mclaren) and Matt Glowicki (@MattGlo) for their excellent work.
Editorial: Louisville must restrict police chases before more people are hurt, killed
The Courier Journal Editorial Board Published 2:43 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2019
Jon Farris asked the right question.
How would you feel if you got a phone call saying your son or daughter (or husband or wife or mother or father) was killed because of a high-speed police chase — a chase that was unnecessary because no lives were in danger?
Devastated? Confused? Furious?
Farris’ son died during such a chase. And in the last three years, seven people in Louisville were killed in police pursuits. READ THE REST OF THE STORY
by Jonathan Farris
Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change
May 27, 2019
Once again I awoke suddenly, shivering in a cold sweat. I had that vision – of theTaxi. Damn.
The Taxi photo courtesy Fox 25 News, Boston . May 27, 2007
My brain was spinning out of control. So. Many. Questions. The first batch were those same questions I’ve asked over and over and over again, virtually every day since Paul was killed.
Why didn’t Morales (the creep who killed my son) just stop?
Why did the State Trooper pursue for a simple misdemeanor traffic violation?
Did the Trooper or Morales even consider the crowded neighborhoods and dangers?
Why did this Trooper continue a 76 MPH pursuitinto Somerville and its narrow streets, a city with a violent felony only pursuit policy?
Even the Somerville Police told me THEYWOULD NOT HAVE CHASED.
Why? Why? So many “whys”
For some odd wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night reason, all I could think about was how Paul was killed. And a bizarre analogy, visiting me yet again, would not go away.
Paul was killed by a 4,600 pound bullet.A bullet propelled not by a gun, but by a vehicular police chase.
Think about it. Paul’s death-by-police-pursuit is no different than if he had been shot by a police officer-fired stray bullet.
I wonder how much outrage a shooting would have sparked? And how many policing policies might have changed to ensure such an event didn’t happen to another bystander?
Think about the annual training that officers receive with their firearms. This even though many (most) will never draw the gun from their holster other than for range practice. Yet all officers hop behind the wheel of their squad car every day. And for most of them, tactical driver training has been nothing less than abysmal, with perhaps a few hours of pursuit driving on a closed track every couple of years.
I’ll expound on the squad car-gun analogy another day, but today is for Paul.
When Paul was killed, as in nearly every pursuit situation, the criminal and the officer each had an opportunity to deescalate the situation before the collision. But neither was willing to give up.
Run; run; chase; chase.
And so whether death was from a police-pursued fleeing car or from a stray bullet, Paul and Walid paid the ultimate price.
May 27, 2019 marks the twelfth anniversary of Paul’s death. It marks the anniversary of a crumpled taxi photograph seared painfully into my conscious and subconscious mind.
It marks a new lifetime of working to correct an ongoing injustice. By preserving Paul’s memory and attempting to safeguard others through increased awareness of dangerous and unnecessary police pursuits, perhaps his story will survive.
Sometimes these are only strong words, but not in the case of Elber Twomey.
On May 5, 2019 I was contacted by Becky Newman, Chief Inspector, Police Adviser for the Home Office Security Science & Innovation and Defence Science Technology Laboratory in West Sussex, United Kingdom. It seems Ms. Newman is actively involved with the UK’s police pursuit policies and pursuit reduction activities. It was quite an honor to have a law enforcement professional reach out across the Atlantic.
Ms Newman also connected me with Elber Twomey, a mom and a loving wife.
Elber was living a peaceful existence with her husband Con, her 16-month-old son Baba Oisín, and was happily pregnant with a daughter. But like so many of my posts, this story took an incredibly tragic path in 2012.
In July 2012, the Twomey’s became innocent victims of a man determined to commit suicide in his vehicle. That despondent, speeding person was being followed (chased?) by a police officer.
Baba Oisín and his unborn sister both died within a day of the crash. And if that wasn’t enough, Elber’s husband Con passed away less than a year later, in May 2013.
Elber lost her whole family. Her children. Her soulmate. Yet she has persevered.
I encourage you to read and share Elber’s story. Because her incredible strength and caring shows that indeed, where there is life, there is hope.
THE couple fighting for their lives after an horrific crash that killed their 16-month-old son had already picked a name for their unborn baby girl, who also died.
The little girl — who was to be named ‘Elber Marie’ after her scheduled birth next December — has been hailed by heartbroken relatives as “an angel”.
Con (39) and Elber (36) Twomey remain in a critical condition in a Devon hospital, following the head-on collision outside Torquay, in Britain, last Friday.
A 20-year old Polish man — who apparently drove directly at high speed into the path of the Twomeys’ Volkswagen Golf — also died.
Devon police have not released the man’s name — although he is now the focus of a probe by its major crime unit.
Toxicology tests on the young Pole and his state of mind at the time are now central to the investigation.
Police are also examining an apparent suicide note left by the young man.
In an emotional statement yesterday, the Twomey family said that only faith and the support of so many people was helping them to cope.
The Twomey’s little boy, Oisin (aged 16 months), died in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth just an hour after the collision, despite desperate efforts by doctors to save him. His unborn baby sister died after an emergency operation to deliver her.
Elber Twomey was five months pregnant and she and Con had already picked the name ‘Elber Marie’ for their unborn baby girl. “She was born an angel,” the Twomey family said.
“Con and Elber, a devoted husband and wife, father and mother to Oisin — the light of their lives — are in the thoughts and prayers of everyone who knew them.
“The shock of the events last Friday afternoon are still so raw and heartfelt. Con and Elber always came together. The pride they had in the life shared with Oisin was obvious to all.
“The expectation they had of the child that Elber carried adding to this happiness was also so real. As they lie ill, this loss is so hard to take.”
Elber’s parents, Timmy and Rita, as well as Con’s sisters, Michelle and Colette, have maintained a vigil by their hospital bedsides.
Today, Newmarket parish priest, Fr Dave Herlihy, who married the couple, will travel to Derriford to show his support for the Twomey family.
Last night, the Twomeys paid a heartfelt thanks to the community. They said: “Embedded in their home community, Meelin and Rockchapel Parish in north-west Cork, Con and Elber were involved in all aspects of its life, from the GAA to local events. Both were always together attending, supporting their friends, neighbours and relatives.
“Their faith (was) always evident, with a proactive involvement in the church. At this time, we, their family and friends, pray that this faith is rewarded with a real recovery.
“We pray, too, for Oisin and baby Elber Marie, born an angel. We ask for the privacy of the families at this time to be respected, so we can focus on helping them in the long recovery ahead.”
The tragedy occurred at 2.45pm last Friday at Hamelin Way outside Torquay, when a Vauxhall Vectra veered directly into the path of the Volkswagen Golf that was carrying the Twomeys.
A police officer witnessed the collision — though police were not chasing the young Pole’s car at the time.
Such was the force of the collision that the main road was closed for over 10 hours and 25 emergency units — including three air ambulances — attended the scene.
Now spend some time on Elber’s site and see how, even with all this pain and sorrow, is working to create POSITIVE CHANGES. Amazing.
Campaigning that All Gardaí/Police Officers will receive specific training in Suicide Awareness & how to Apprehend Suicidal Drivers. It’s to Help the Garda/Police Officer & the Suicidal Soul #LifeIsPrecious
My name is Elber Twomey. Myself and my two Beautiful Boys went on holiday in July 2012. We were an extremely happy family treating ourselves to a ten day holiday in Devon. We chose the Devon, the sunny south west for our holiday as personally I was afraid to fly as I was five months pregnant with our beautiful little lady. Taking our car also gave us the luxury of bringing lots of Baba Oisín’s toys etc., so we literally could have a home away from home. We had 6 fabulously carefree days together. Regretfully on July 6th, day seven of our holiday at 2:47 PM tragedy struck us and our wonderful life ended. We were involved in a horrific crash. This poor driver RIP was suicidal and was being followed at speed by a Police Officer. Our tragic crash claimed the lives of our beautiful little man Baba Oisín and his beautiful unborn sister.
I am Campaigning that All Gardaí/Police Officers will receive specific training in Suicide Awareness & how to Apprehend Suicidal Drivers. It’s to Help the Garda/Police Officer & the Suicidal Soul.
My reason for doing this is to try to help to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to another innocent family. I want to try to achieve a simple thing, to try to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen here!!
The following is a link to TV3 Disclosure ‘The Elber Twomey Story’.
This documentary tells our horrific story with regard to the tragic events that led to our crash on July 6th 2012 and indeed how it led me to campaign for suicide awareness training for all our Gardaí, Police Officers in the UK and beyond, and that my hope is that they will address the suicidal driver in this training. My thinking being that this training is to help and support the Garda/Police Officer who is faced with such a stressful situation along with hopefully helping the suicidal person that they may encounter.
It includes great interviews with my brother Tomás, close friends of Con’s, Thomas and Michael, wonderful nurses from Torbay Hospital who looked after us in the aftermath of our crash, along with Chief Superintendent Jim Nye of Devon & Cornwall Police and Superintendent Patrick McCabe from the Garda Training College in Templemore in Ireland.
It also features great moments from our http://www.twomeyfamilyremorial.comweekend which we run in June. The aim of the weekend is to Remember with Love and to Honour Con, Baba Oisín & Baby Elber-Marie & to promote the reality of how precious life is. The funds we raise from our weekend have gone to help the Hospitals who looked after us following the crash, Brú Columbanus in Cork who provide home from home accommodation for relatives of seriously ill patients in the Cork hospitals along with great suicide support groups – Reach Out, 3T’s, Samaritans in Cork & Pieta House.
This story plays out EVERY SINGLE DAY across the US. Police chasing stolen vehicles and ALWAYS endangering innocent bystanders. In this case, Maria and Rosemary had to die so policy could chase. When will this stupidity end?
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police tell KSN that a 12-year-old girl and 70-year-old woman died after a multi-car crash in downtown Wichita. It happened just before 2 p.m. Sunday at Douglas and Broadway.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2001 BMW with two people inside was fleeing from Wichita police on Broadway heading southbound.
At the intersection, the BMW struck a 1998 Toyota with three people inside on the drivers side. The Toyota spun out and struck another Chevy with one person.
The woman and girl who died in the crash are identified as 70-year-old Maria Wood and 12-year-old Rosemary McElroy. Both are from Wichita and were in the Toyota. Another woman, 36-year-old Jennifer Wood, was injured and transported to the hospital.
The two people in the BMW, 24-year-old Mia Collins and 38-year-old Christopher English, were transported to the hospital.
A driver of the Chevy, 65-year-old Alfred Angel, was also taken to the hospital.
Captain Jeff Weible says the two suspects accused of causing the crash are in the hospital.
The crash spawned from a car chase, when officers saw an alleged stolen vehicle at the 1000 block of North Broadway.
“As they were trying to turn around to follow the vehicle, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed,” said Capt. Weible, Wichita Police Department.
Some people who work nearby said they keep replaying the scene in their mind. Legend Journey works inside a building right next to where the crash happened. She was emotional as she recalled what she saw.
“I just walked up to the window, and I saw her feet,” said Journey. “So, I ran away from the window. Just to know that it was right outside where I work and they wanted us to keep working.”
Police are still investigating. KSN hopes to learn more later todya.
“When we have an incident of this magnitude, we’re going to review it thoroughly to make sure we not only follow policy but state law,” said Capt. Weible.
While witnesses said they’re thinking of the families involved, they said they’re also trying to process what they saw.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” said Journey. “It kind of makes me angry because is stealing a car really worth two people’s lives?”
The areas from Topeka to Market on Douglas and from William to 1st Street on Broadway were shut down for several hours.