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An Unexpected Opinion? Violent Felony Pursuits

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An Unexpected Opinion? Violent Felony Pursuits

by Jon Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

Typically when you hear me speak, or you read stories in which I’ve been quoted, I discuss why law enforcement had better options than a dangerous pursuit. And there definitely are options. Purchase, implementation and usage of pursuit reduction technology tools (see PursuitResponse.org); significantly more pursuit driving training; stricter emergency vehicle operations requirements and pursuit driving policies. And the list goes on.

To that end, PFC continues to actively support law enforcement in the acquisition of technology tools and with officer safety training (@Below100).

Given that +90% of pursuits begin as the result of a misdemeanor traffic infraction or a property crime, it’s understandable why Pursuit For Change gets so many calls from media when innocent citizens are injured or killed in dangerous chases. And these calls happen frequently because someone is killed every day as the direct result of a police pursuit.

Every once in a while, however, I’m asked about a pursuit which began as the result of a violent felony. Josh Solomon, a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) called me several days ago and we had a long conversation about pursuits in general and specifically about the chase detailed in his story, included below.

In a nutshell, some bad person tried to force a woman into his vehicle. A nearby citizen called 911 and reported the assault.

The sheriff’s department responded immediately and a pursuit of the vehicle began. As you read the article you’ll learn that the fleeing driver lost control, crossed a median, and struck an innocent driver. Luckily the innocent victims survived the crash.

There are some questions surrounding the 911 call, all explained in the article. We’ll certainly learn more about the 911 Center’s follow-up communications as the investigation continues, but regardless I’m not entirely sure the pursuit could have been stopped quickly enough to prevent the crash.

Law enforcement officers have a tough job; one that requires risk assessment and often, immediate and decisive actions. LEOs need tools (strong policies; constant training; command support; etc.). We hire these folks to protect us from those willing to cause harm. I know there are way too many unnecessary chases but in many (most?) violent felony situations, we need law enforcement to do whatever is necessary to apprehend the criminal. Indeed, in these circumstances innocent citizens can be put at risk; but the need to remove these violent offenders from the street will almost always outweigh the need to break off a pursuit or to not pursue in the first place.

Josh asked me if I thought the chase was justified. My opinion? This was a violent abduction attempt. When the deputies arrived, everyone assumed the woman was in that fleeing vehicle. And even though the pursuit put the victim at risk, not pursuing likely would have placed her in even greater peril. So in this violent felony situation, with what was known at the time of first police contact, a pursuit was certainly justified.


Original post:
https://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/A-high-speed-chase-A-deadly-crash-Did-Pasco-deputies-get-the-right-info-_172773944

911 Audio Here:
https://youtu.be/IYsaFz21YLU

A high-speed chase. A deadly crash. Did Pasco deputies get the right info?

Two days after a suspect died while leading deputies on a high-speed pursuit, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco stood in front of reporters and praised the “heroism” of his deputies for trying to save a kidnapped woman trapped inside the fleeing car.

The woman, though, wasn’t in the car.

Just 28 seconds after the Oct. 13 pursuit started, her voice can be heard in the 911 call made from a gas station.

That crucial information never made it to deputies.

They continued the 2½-minute pursuit on State Road 54 until the fleeing driver crossed the median and drove into oncoming traffic, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. The incident ended in a fiery head-on collision with an oncoming pickup truck. The suspect died. The pickup driver was seriously injured.

This latest incident underscores the dangers of high-speed pursuits, a risky law enforcement tactic that has drawn scrutiny across the county. High-speed pursuits have resulted in death and injury, prompting local agencies to restrict when officers can chase a suspect.

But what happens when those officers aren’t getting the most accurate information possible? In this case, Pasco deputies were in the dark about one critical element: There was no kidnapping victim to rescue.

Why wasn’t that relayed to the pursuing deputies? Would it have made a difference?

• • •

The recording of the 911 call, and the notes taken by the call-taker, detail what preceded the vehicle pursuit.

The caller, whose name was not made public, told the call-taker that at about 8:45 p.m. a woman, later identified as Melissa Mary Russo, 44, mouthed the words “help me” to him at the Circle K gas station at 17565 S.R. 54. She was with a man who was later identified as Michael Blomberg, 54.

“Something’s not right,” the caller said.

Then the situation escalated. Blomberg tried to force the woman into a black car, the caller told 911.

“He’s got her in a … headlock, it looks like,” the caller said. “He’s got her in a bear hug right now.”

Then the caller said the man drove away in a gray Chrysler 200 sedan. Deputies dispatched to the gas station started chasing the fleeing car.

A beat later, a female voice appears on the tape of the 911 call.

“Sir, is that the female with you?” the call-taker asked.

She was. The woman had escaped Blomberg’s car and run to the caller. This was 28 seconds after the event log shows the pursuit started.

“FEM WITH CALR,” the 911 call-taker wrote. “CALR HAS FEM IN HIS VEH.” CALR is the man who called 911. FEM is for the woman.

• • •

Here’s what happens when someone calls 911 in Pasco County: Call-takers type notes as they gather information from callers, such as the location and nature of emergencies.

The call-taker’s notes appear on the computer screens of dispatchers and deputies (via their vehicle laptops.) The dispatcher also speaks to deputies over the radio.

This setup allows one person to gather information from the caller while another focuses on sending the right kind of help: officers, firefighters or paramedics.

As deputies raced to the gas station, the recorded radio transmissions reveal the dispatcher briefing them en route using the call-taker’s notes: A woman mouthed “help me.” Her assailant put her in a headlock. He tried to force her into a car. The Chrysler was driving off.

Sheriff’s cruisers, lights and sirens blaring, quickly found the fleeing car.

Blomberg did not stop.

• • •

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office policy that governs pursuits first explains how dangerous they can be:

“Vehicle pursuits conducted by law enforcement personnel often present a significant risk of danger to the safety of the general public, the deputies involved, and the occupants of the fleeing vehicle. National studies have determined that most vehicle pursuit operations conducted by law enforcement are usually short in duration and often result in a crash.”

Therefore, the policy states, Pasco deputies are not allowed to engage in pursuits unless they determine that allowing the suspect to escape is a greater danger to the public than the pursuit itself.

The Pinellas and Hillsborough Sheriff’s Offices and the Clearwater and Tampa Police Departments spell out under what circumstances their officers can chase a fleeing suspect. All involve a list of violent felonies that would justify a high-speed chase.

But in Tampa Bay law enforcement, the Pasco sheriff’s policy is the most permissive, according to Jon Farris, whose advocacy group Pursuit for Change aims to reduce unnecessary police chases. He started it after his son was killed in a taxicab struck by a driver fleeing police in 2007.

Still, the chase policies in Clearwater, Hillsborough, Pasco and Tampa would all have justified a high-speed pursuit in the Pasco case because it involved a possible kidnapping.

“This one was a unique case,” Farris said of the Blomberg pursuit.

Based on what the deputies knew at the time, he said, the Oct. 13 pursuit was justified. But what if deputies had that missing piece of information?

• • •

As the 911 call-taker typed into the computer system that the woman was at the gas station, deputies were already chasing after the Chrysler.

The pursuit headed west on State Road 54. Deputies stayed in constant radio contact with dispatchers.

“Not stopping,” a deputy reported over the radio. “Speed 60.”

A dispatcher asks if the deputies can tell if a woman is in the car. They said they couldn’t. No one in dispatch, according to the radio recordings, told the deputies that the woman was back at the gas station.

During those frantic 2½-minutes, deputies tried to puncture the fleeing car’s tires by laying “Stop Sticks” — tire-deflating spikes — onto the roadway.

Two deputies pursued the Chrysler, and each one’s body camera captured how it ended: The car crossed the highway’s median, driving west into eastbound traffic. Then, just east of Gunn Highway, the Chrysler struck an oncoming pick-up truck head-on.

Deputies dragged Bloomberg from the wreckage and tried to revive him. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The body cameras showed deputies searching the backseat of the Chrysler for the kidnapping victim.

The pickup driver, Kirby Sober, 24, suffered burns and a severe leg injury, according to family attorney Hunter Higdon. Sober must now use a wheelchair. Doctors expect he will be able to walk again after a long recovery.

• • •

The dispatch center is under Pasco County government. County spokeswoman Tambrey Laine would not say if the deputies should have been told that the woman they were trying to rescue was not in the car.

Farris, though, said the information officers receive during a high-speed chase is critical because it determines whether the chase should continue.

“Typically when there is a pursuit the officers or deputies are being monitored by a supervisor who is involved in (making) the call of whether there’s a need to break it off,” he said.

But in this case, he said, “there’s what would appear to be a breakdown in communication.”

Laine said the dispatcher handled the Oct. 13 incident according to protocol. The dispatcher relays information to deputies until they arrive. Then the roles reverse and deputies start informing the dispatcher, she wrote in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times:

“As soon as deputies are engaged, communications begin to flow the other way, with the deputies communicating via radio from the scene to the dispatcher, who enters those notes into our computer system. The focus at this point is on the information the deputy, as a trained first responder, is relaying to the dispatcher.”

But Doll said that even if the pursuing deputies were told there was no kidnapping victim trapped in the fleeing vehicle, they may have still continued the pursuit. They would still have to confirm there was no one in danger.

“We just can’t take somebody’s word over the phone that it’s fact,” he said.

Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or jsolomon@tampabay.com. Follow @ByJoshSolomon.

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Message to Toyota: Police Pursuits Are No Joke

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Opinion Article

Suppose you’re a homeowner who has watched your neighborhood deteriorate since drug dealers moved in. The drug traffic has disturbed your peace, destroyed the lives of friends, and threatened your security.

Then suppose you turn on the TV and see a commercial for a product considered socially responsible: a low water-use toilet. The manufacturer, worried that customers think its flushing power ineffectual, has devised a new “humorous” ad. It depicts a panicked drug dealer reacting to police pounding on his door by running to the bathroom with a bag of cocaine. The camera cuts to police ramming the entry, then back to the dealer, calmly munching corn chips. The ad’s caption: “No Matter the Rush, It’s Gone in One Flush!”

No advertising company would propose such an ad, and no manufacturer would buy it. It would outrage the law-abiding public and law enforcement at all levels.

Yet for months Toyota has run a series of ads that strike both police and the family members of one group of crime victims as just this outrageous. The first spot aired during the Super Bowl.

A group of bank robbers, finding their getaway car has been towed, steal a Prius. They elude police, driving for miles at high speeds. Meanwhile, citizens tweet the thieves’ exploits and hang out banners to cheer them on as they speed by. The chase goes on endlessly, without even near-miss collisions, as if pursuits always unrolled in the sedate manner of the slow-motion chase of O. J. Simpson on highways that had been cleared of most other traffic.

In real life, police pursuits can quickly turn deadly. An FBI study found that about half of all pursuits last less than two minutes, and 70% end within six minutes — usually in a crash. Sometimes the fleeing driver slams into a wall, injuring or killing only himself. But too often he slams into another, innocent driver.

Records kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 1979 show that about one person a day dies in a pursuit-related crash and that over one-third of those killed are innocent bystanders. The real number of pursuit-related deaths is probably higher.

USA Today investigators who tabulated media-reported pursuits found that the NHTSA undercounted chase-related deaths in 2013 by at least 31%. One reason: accident report forms often don’t ask whether a pursuit preceded a crash.

Researchers for the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported in 2008 that over 91% of vehicular pursuits are triggered by non-violent crimes, and that in over 42% of cases, police pursue for minor traffic violations.

Patrol officers see small infractions as clues to larger crimes — and a suspect’s refusal to stop seems an admission of guilt. It is true that police frequently discover, after the crash, that a suspect was driving a stolen vehicle. But by then the stolen property is irrecoverable.

You can replace a ruined car, but you cannot replace the life of an innocent bystander victim. That’s why the national nonprofit PursuitSAFETY urges law enforcement to pursue only violent felony suspects. It also urges law enforcement to train officers to use safe practices in situations that often trigger pursuits. Another organization, Pursuit For Change, pushes these reforms while promoting new technologies that could help officers apprehend suspects without the dangerous chase.

Both groups have asked Toyota to pull the offensive Prius ads. Toyota has responded with tone-deaf excuses.

Toyota Operations Supervisor Nicole Redd’s response to a letter from PursuitSAFETY volunteer Patti DeAngelis (whose daughter died last September due to a pursuit in San Joaquin County, California) is typical. “We are sorry you did not enjoy our . . . commercial. Our intention was to focus on the typical misconceptions about hybrids . . . in a fun and humorous way.” In other words, “That was a joke! Didn’t you get it?”

The American public doesn’t get it. We regard vehicular flight and pursuit with too much fascination and too little alarm. We thrill to movie depictions of impossible chases. The camera sweeps past fiery crashes and crumpled vehicles, never showing us the human cost. Reckless scofflaws conclude that you can flee police and get away, while the rest of us don’t suspect we could be victims — until it happens to someone we love.

Free-lance writer and editor Ellen Deitz Tucker began advocating reforms to police pursuit policy after her sister and a friend were killed by a fleeing driver in Belmont, NC in 2012.

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CBN: Stop the Chase – How new technology can prevent deadly police pursuits

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http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2016/april/stop-the-chase-how-new-technology-can-prevent-deadly-police-pursuits

Rockdale County, GA — Have you ever found yourself caught in the middle of a high speed police chase?
Though they may be entertaining to watch on television, police pursuits often end in violent collisions that kill or injure thousands of innocent bystanders and police officers each year.

Now, a new technology could change the way officers go after suspects and prevent these risky chases from ever occurring.

These accidents are a leading cause of injury, death, and lawsuits involving police officers, and can cost taxpayers an average of $3 million. But officers aren’t the only ones at risk during a high speed chase.

High Speed Chase Is Not Entertainment

Sheriff Eric Levett, in Rockdale County, Georgia, says anyone can be a victim of a police pursuit.

“With chasing, anybody can pull out in front of you, your breaks can fail, there’s a lot of different things that can cause some type of danger to the deputy and or the community,” he explained.

Jon Farris learned the hard way that in a matter of seconds, anyone can be a victim. His 23-year-old son Paul was on his way home in a cab when a vehicle pursued by police crashed into him at more than 70 miles per hour.

The state trooper went after the driver for making an illegal U-turn, despite the city’s no pursuit policy for any crime other than violent felonies. The officer faced no reprimand because according to state police rules, he was within his right to pursue.

An overwhelming number of police pursuits are started over non-violent crimes and escalate quickly, endangering the suspect, the policeman, and any bystanders along the way.

“Two or three seconds earlier, two or three seconds later than the timing of that pursuit and my son would be alive, so it’s just random,” Farris said. “I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know what to do after Paul died, so I started researching police pursuits.”

He found on average that one person dies each day as the result of a police pursuit, a third of those deaths being innocent bystanders.

An FBI report uncovered that the true cost is probably two to three times higher than the stated average because pursuit fatalities are only reported at the discretion of law enforcement.

No government agencies track injuries from pursuits, leaving no information on police officers and bystanders paralyzed, brain damaged, or suffering from other life altering injuries.

How It Works

In order to cut down on high pursuit casualties, authorities like Sheriff Levett are investing in new technology known as Star Chase.

“I know that this technology has been a great investment, from the times we’ve launched this GPS tracking unit we have had a successful capture rate,” Levett said.

Star Chase allows officers to deploy a tracking device on vehicles without the driver knowing they’ve been tagged. For about $5000 per vehicle, officers can secretly but safely catch cars on the run.

Officers can deploy the tracker while they are behind a car they are pursuing or from outside their vehicle if a car they pulled over decides to flee. Drivers cannot feel the tracker hitting their car, so they do not know they’ve been tagged.

As the suspect thinks he is no longer being pursued, the officers begin their stealth pursuit, pulling up a map of the suspect’s location and alerting fellow law enforcement where the car is heading.

In most cases the suspects slow down to safer speeds because without the police car following them, they think they have gotten away, letting fellow drivers and bystanders avoid being in the middle of a high speed pursuit.

“When you can launch something and you can track it, you can discontinue the chase and just begin tracking the vehicle. You can apprehend the vehicle and or the suspect later,” Levett said.

So far, only a handful of Rockdale patrol cars have Star Chase, but Levett wants to invest in more Star Chase vehicles because of its success rate.

‘No Injuries’ with Star Chase

“We’ve captured everyone from the ones that we’ve launched,” Levett said. “No injuries to the deputy and no injuries to the community or citizens.”

Most departments rely on decades old tire spikes to stop chases, but even they are rarely used because of the danger involved. Police must also know where cars are heading.

One Rockdale County Police Officer explained the potential dangers to the officer when deploying spike strips.

“Trying to deploy stop sticks sometimes is very dangerous, especially if you put them out and the car swerves toward you, I’ve seen several videos of officers getting struck trying to deploy spike strips,” the officer said.

Levett admits new technology can be expensive, but he says it’s nothing compared to the cost of chases gone wrong.

“When you talk about the fees, the car is possibly going to be totaled, but the deputy was also life lighted to a nearby hospital,” he said. “So your incurring the fees of you know, air ambulance, your incurring the fees of him being hospitalized, and then aftercare where he’s going to go to therapy or just going to the doctor.”

“And not only that, the agency is losing a man or a woman that is down for weeks,” he added.

Levett says providing officers the right tools protects their safety as well as the citizens.

“Behind the badges of those who put on this uniform are humans,” Levett said. “They walk out the doors kissing their loved ones, telling them that they love them not knowing if they’re ever going to return back to the house again because they are leaving that home to protect and serve the people of their city, their county and this great state.”

“I want the people to know that we’re out here doing the best that we can, and all we want to do is protect and serve you,” he said.

Since his son’s death, Farris has worked hard to raise awareness of this issue on a national level. He started an advocacy group called Pursuit for Change, which encourages lawmakers to dedicate funding for increased pursuit safety and training,

The group also wants mandatory reporting for all police pursuits and rethinking of the current pursuit policies in hopes of preventing more unnecessary lives lost, like his son Paul’s.

“If we can get changes that will save a life a day, that’s a pretty big deal,” Farris said.

**Help Jon Farris in his efforts to prevent unnecessary police pursuits by signing his Change.org petition here**

Reposted from CBN News

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Child, officer sent to hospital after police pursuit, crash

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TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) – A shoplifting call leads to a brief chase, an accident and a police officer being treated at a local hospital.

Tupelo Police Department’s Chuck McDougal tells WTVA that it began with a shoplifting report at the WalMart on North Gloster around 4 p.m.

When police go there, the suspect left in a vehicle and police pursued.

They pulled back from the chase because of traffic.

The car turned on Barnes Crossing Road where another officer responding was coming through the intersection and the suspect rammed the police car.

The offender was taken into custody.

A six-year-old child was in the vehicle and has been taken to the hospital for observation.

Officers are also being checked, but there is believed to be no serious injuries.

Tupelo P.D. detectives and the Lee County Sheriff’s Department are investigating.

SOURCE | www.wtva.com 

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4 hurt in Cleveland crash after police chase

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CLEVELAND — Authorities say four people were hurt following an overnight chase that ended with a crash at E. 36th and Euclid.

The six-minute pursuit started early Thursday morning around 44th and Clark after a trooper noticed the back window was out, and couldn’t see a front license plate.

WKYC is told the chase hit speeds between 80-90 mph on I-90 East.

The chase came to an end when the white van went through a flashing red light at E. 36th Street, colliding with an SUV carrying three women.

The driver and all three SUV occupants were taken to a local hospital with undisclosed injuries, but authorities believe all will recover.

Investigators are working to determine if the white van was stolen.

There are conflicting reports regarding whether or not there was a second person in the white van who may have fled the scene.

Shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday, crews reopened the road where the crash took place.

Stay with WKYC for more updates as additional details become available.

Reposted from WKYC.com

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Survivor’s family notifies Rockport of intent to sue over fatal high-speed pursuit

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ROCKPORT, Maine — The family of the sole survivor of a crash that claimed two teenagers’ lives following a high-speed police pursuit last December has notified the town of its intent to sue.

The notice of intent to sue was filed this week with the town by Jeri Vitale of Warren on behalf of her 17-year-old daughter Emily Vitale. The younger Vitale was a passenger in the 2001 Subaru Outback driven by 17-year-old Caleb Byras of Litchfield, who led Rockport police Officer Craig Cooley on a high-speed pursuit from Rockport to Wotton’s Mill Road in Union, where the car crashed and split into two large pieces.

Byras and passenger Kara Brewer, 16, of Rockland, died instantly in the Dec. 5 crash. Vitale suffered injuries to an ankle, police said.

Rockport Town Manager Rick Bates confirmed Wednesday that the notice of claim had been filed, but a copy and details were not immediately available.

Vitale is represented by attorney Peter Clifford of Kennebunk, who did not immediately respond to a telephone message left Wednesday afternoon.

Attorney Benjamin Gideon, who represents Brewer’s mother, has previously said he too plans to file a notice of intent to sue, saying that Cooley was negligent by undertaking a high-speed pursuit in violation of the town’s policy and accepted police practices. State law requires a notice be filed within six month of an incident for someone to sue the state, county or municipal government.

Cooley was taken off patrol duty last month and assigned to full-time administrative duties pending the results of an independent review of the police department’s policy by a consulting firm the town hired last month.

In the past 20 years, Cooley has split his time between being the administrative assistant to the chief and a patrol officer with the Rockport Police Department.

Cooley pursued the car driven by Byras after the Litchfield teen failed to stop when the officer tried to pull him over for speeding on Route 17 in Rockport. The chase lasted about four minutes before the crash occurred.

Cooley had issued a ticket to Byras about an hour earlier for driving 74 mph in a 55-mph zone on the same road.

Gideon said Cooley’s pursuit of Byras violated Rockport’s policy on police pursuits, which was adopted in September 2013 and is the same as the model recommended for all police departments in the state by the board of trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

The policy states that only full-time law enforcement officers may participate in a high-speed pursuit. Cooley is not certified as a full-time officer but as a part-time officer, according to John Rogers, director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

The police policy also states that a law enforcement officer “shall not engage in high-speed pursuit if the operator is known” to the officer unless there is “a serious indication of further violent actions if not immediately apprehended.”

Further, the policy states that an officer “shall not pursue vehicles for Class D and E crimes or traffic violations, unless the conditions surrounding the pursuit are conducive to safe operation, management and due regard for the safety of the officer, the public, and the person or persons in the vehicle being pursued.”

Rockport Police Chief Mark Kelley defended Cooley, however, and said Cooley acted appropriately when he pursued the speeding teen driver.

Reposted from bangordailynews.com by Stephen Betts

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Family of innocent driver question why Seattle police engaged in deadly chase

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SEATTLE — A grieving grandmother is demanding an explanation from police as to why officers continued a pursuit that ended in a collision, killing her grandson.

You can see in that pursuit and everything, they were just hauling tail,” said a tearful Pennie Ledford, referring to dashcam video of the chase that police released. “You shouldn’t even be doing that when you’re in the city and somebody could be killed.”

Her grandson, 21-year-old Devin Francis, died early Thursday morning when the driver of a stolen car collided head-on with his vehicle.

Officers were chasing the stolen car down Highland Park Drive. The 16-year-old suspect, who investigators believe was involved in an armed carjacking earlier, was also killed in the accident.

The video shows officers following the car down residential streets until the suspect led officers down Highland Park Way, a steep and generally busy road.

It shows the suspect’s vehicle cross the centerline on a curve and strike Devin’s vehicle. The police video blurs-out the violent impact.

“He was always my buddy since he was a kid,” said Pennie, who uses oxygen because of health problems.

She and Devin had lived together for the past six years.

“He did everything for me, you know, that I needed…because with this there’s a lot of things I can’t do,” she said.

Seattle police chief Kathleen O’Toole issued a public statement saying the fatal pursuit is devastating to the families and the officers involved.

She expressed her condolences and promised a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the chase.

But Devin’s relatives say they don’t need an investigation to answer all their questions.

“If they (officers) would have held back, two people would be alive today,” Pennie said. “This guy didn’t kill nobody, he stole a car.”

Devin’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses.

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Officer and K9 injured in wild Miami car chase

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A suspect was taken into custody following a police pursuit in Miami Friday afternoon.

VIDEO: Officer, K-9 Hurt in Wild Miami Vehicle Pursuit

The chase, which started in downtown Miami, involved a red 4-door Nissan Altima that was seen speeding on Miami streets.

The car was eventually stopped in a driveway, and the driver, later identified as 34-year-old Keith Michel, was taken into custody, NBC Miami reports.

Footage showed officers surround the car with guns drawn as a K-9 approached. The car went in reverse and bumped a police car before it stopped and Michel got out.

One officer was injured and a K-9 was hurt, officials said. Officers from the City of Miami and Miami-Dade Police took part in the pursuit and arrest.

Police said Michel was wanted on serious felony charges in Lauderhill. Lauderhill Police said he was wanted for stabbing his girlfriend Thursday night. She’s in the hospital with multiple stab wounds.

UPDATE: Police dog injured ‘doing great,’ fugitive not so well

Source

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Mother of woman killed in police chase says it’s time to reconsider pursuits

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VELDA CITY • About the time Keisha Redding printed her résumé at a state job assistance center, a police patrolman a mile south noticed a red Chevrolet Monte Carlo with no front license plate. After the driver made two turns without signaling, the officer switched on his lights and siren.

The red sedan with a white hood raced away, covering the distance in the time it took Redding, 23, headed for a job interview, to start walking across Natural Bridge and Lucas and Hunt roads. The crosswalk signal was in her favor, but the circumstances were not.

It was just before 11 a.m. Feb. 26 when the Monte Carlo struck Redding, killing her instantly, and kept going. It was found later, abandoned, in St. Louis. Four days after that, prosecutors filed involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene charges againstMikal Hamilton, 24. It took police about a month more to find him.

Redding’s mother, Njoki Redding, has compassion for Hamilton and his family, recognizing that he did not intend to kill anyone. And she raises the question of whether low-stakes police pursuits make sense.

“He made a terrible mistake, and yes, there needs to be atonement for that mistake, but in that, we need to stop continuing to damage the community,” she said in a recent interview. “Responsibility needs to be taken for things that may have been incorrect as well as looked at in terms of how do we change things.

“Nothing will bring her back, but how can we grow? … If it was a chase, then why are we chasing? For a ticket?”

Police pursuits have been controversial, given the danger to the public, officers and suspects themselves.

They’re also a costly risk to taxpayers. In 2012, a jury awarded$3.1 million to the family of a woman, 34, killed by a speeding suspect fleeing from the now defunct Uplands Park police.

Redding’s death comes at a time when events in Ferguson have put intense attention upon reforming policing in north St. Louis County municipalities. Recent legislation by the St. Louis County Council requires departments to gain accreditation and suggests that they establish pursuit policies. But the measure doesn’t dictate what the policies should say.

National data show that more police officers die from vehicle crashes than gunshots.

History of pursuits

Many large departments, including St. Louis and St. Louis County, have conservative policies that restrict pursuits to cases in which a suspected felon is considered a greater threat to the public than a pursuit.

Velda City’s policy allows chases for misdemeanors as well as felonies. Chief Dan Paulino did not respond to requests for documentation of how traffic infractions fall within that policy.

Paulino has said that he believes his officer followed policy.

“Our policy … also goes into if you identify the person or get a (license) plate (number), go ahead and terminate the pursuit,” Paulino explained. “In this particular case, the officer was trying to get the plate.”

His policy also states that officers should terminate pursuits at the city limits unless the person “is wanted for a dangerous felony.” The intersection where Redding died is about two-tenths of a mile north of the boundary of the city of about 1,600 people.

It was one in a series of high-profile pursuits by the 16-member department in recent years.

St. Louis County police are investigating a pursuit of a suspected speeder traveling with three teenagers in January. It ended with Paulino firing at and striking the driver as he took cover in a house.

In 2011, a Velda City traffic stop for expired license plates in nearby Bel-Ridge ended with Paulino tussling with a female driver. The episode resulted in the firing of a county officer assigned to Jennings, for improperly firing his gun.

Paulino said the in-car camera video of the chase that killed Keisha Redding will “exonerate” his officer, but he said he will not release it because of the pending investigation. He said the patrol car was about six seconds behind Hamilton and slowed for the intersection. The chief said his officer did not realize Redding had been hit and continued the chase.

Witnesses told the Post-Dispatch that the officer also sped through the intersection.

“The video clearly shows that we were pursuing, but the officer was so far back,” Paulino said. “It doesn’t matter because a chase is a chase, and an innocent person lost their life.

“I hate to admit this, but it won’t be last.”

Redding’s mother doesn’t want to accept that.

“What did she leave for us to learn?” Njoki Redding asked. “We need to honor her life and not just wait for this to happen to the next person.”

Philosophies differ

Paulino criticized some other departments, such as St. Louis, for their limited pursuit rules.

“Why do you think that historically and statistically, the vast majority of pursuits that occur in St. Louis County all go toward the city?” Paulino asked. “Why do you think that happens? Because the city won’t chase them, and people know that.”

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said that’s not a bad thing if it prevents someone from being killed in the name of enforcing a traffic law. In January, Dotson sent reminders to area police departments that his officers will not join pursuits unless the circumstances fit the St. Louis policy. He also asks departments to fill out surveys on chases that enter the city.

“It’s my job to keep people in the city safe, and we already know pursuits are one of the most dangerous things police can do,” he said. “If people are chasing in the city for things we wouldn’t chase people for, we have a right to know.”

St. Louis County Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Cox said traffic violator pursuits like the one that killed Redding occur regularly among “several” municipal police departments. “We got away from that 20 years ago as supervisors realized there was a very good chance that it wasn’t going to end well, because most end in accidents,” Cox said.

Paulino said no policy can cover every decision officers must make.

“The bad guys leave, and we go after them and unfortunately bad things happen,” he said. “Everything is dictated by the actions of suspect.”

He added, “The focus needs to be brought to the suspect. All he had to do was stop. He was facing two tickets, if that. And just because there were violations that doesn’t mean (the suspect) was going to get” tickets.

A mother mourns

Meanwhile, at Njoki Redding’s home in University City, pictures on the fireplace mantel show the evolution of her daughter’s short life, including a graduation portrait from University City High School.

At a memorial service March 3, Njoki Redding told mourners, including Keisha’s three sisters, how Keisha was one of her “heart babies.”

“Some babies come from our wombs, and others from our hearts, and at 3 months old, Keisha became one of our heart babies,” the mother explained. She and her late husband adopted Keisha from the now-closed Faith House, where Njoki Redding once worked.

The child followed in her mother’s footsteps and had worked at several child care facilities. She also had a second job at a pizza restaurant.

Some of her co-workers went to her funeral, relating stories of how Keisha Redding gave them hope in small gestures, such as words of encouragement. She also was an organ donor, providing two people the gift of sight, said her godmother, Veronica Banks.

“I can hear my voice and her mother’s voice in these people,” Banks said. “It showed me she was listening even when we thought she wasn’t.”

The night before she was killed, Keisha Redding asked her godmother to email her a copy of her résumé so she could print it at the St. Louis County Workforce Development Center in time for an interview at 1 p.m. that Friday. Banks doesn’t know where the interview was supposed to be. It turned out not to matter.

A purse was among Keisha Redding’s belongings returned to her family by the medical examiner’s office.

The résumé was inside.

Reposted from www.stltoday.com by Christine Byers

 

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Challenging the rules of the road during high speed chases

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(WXYZ) – They are always dangerous. They are always controversial.

Dozens have been killed in high-speed police pursuits. Now one Michigan lawmaker is fighting to slam on the brakes, but state police are fighting back.

While they can have a bad outcome, police say the chases are necessary.

“I’d like to say I can end every pursuit and no one would ever get hurt,” says MSP Lt. Mike Shaw. “But that’s not something we can do right now.”

Earlier this month, a family of five was devastated in a high-speed pursuit crash. It turned out the driver was chased only because he had no drivers license.

Malaysia, 6, was seriously injured.

“We later found out at the hospital she had a brain injury, she was bleeding in the brain,” says her mother Mary.

Mary has a cracked rib. Her one-year-old niece was also injured. The infant’s father also sustained severe internal injuries.

“Kidney failure, bleeding inside. He had to have his spleen removed. He’s on a ventilator still,” says Mary.

The trouble peaked in 2014, 27 people were killed in pursuit crashes, according to state police. Last year, 21 were killed, nine were in Wayne County.

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2 killed in high-speed chase in San Bernadino

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Two people were killed in a crash in San Bernardino early Monday after a brief high-speed pursuit by a sheriff’s deputy, authorities said.

A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy began chasing a speeding black Honda in the city of Colton shortly after 5 a.m., said Eileen Hards, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino Police Department, which is handling the investigation.

The deputy tried to pull the driver over, to no avail, and “backed off the vehicle because he was driving so erratically,” Hards said. The driver continued driving north at speeds estimated at 80 to 100 mph, Hards said.

As the deputy tried to find the driver, he saw “smoke in the distance” and called it in to the Police Department, Hards said.

The Honda sped through a stoplight at the intersection of Rialto and Mt. Vernon avenues in the city of San Bernardino, slamming into an eastbound 2008 Ford Mustang, Hards said.

The vehicles crashed through the fence of the nearby business M&M Alternators, hit its building and came to rest in the parking lot, authorities said. The impact was so great that the Mustang’s engine came completely out of the vehicle and landed in the middle of the intersection, Hards said.

“The Mustang was completely totaled,” Hards said. “It basically took the front end off.”

The driver of the Honda and the male passenger of the Mustang were immediately killed on impact, Hards said. The driver of the Mustang suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital, Hards said. There were no other passengers in the vehicles.

The identities of the vehicles’ occupants had not yet been determined Monday morning, Hards said.

The intersection of Mt. Vernon and Rialto was expected to remain closed for several hours, she said.

Content reposted from www.latimes.com by Hailey Branson

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Family hurt in police chase speaks out

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FLINT (WJRT) – (03/14/16) – A 6-year-old girl and her uncle are still in critical condition at Hurley – innocent victims of a police chase that ended with a crash.

It happened late at night March 6 on a busy street on Flint’s north side. Police tried to pull over a woman for driving without a license. Instead, she took off – hitting a car with five people in it.

“I keep praying to God to heal my baby and heal my brother,” said Mary Saunders, whose daughter is in critical condition at Hurley Medical Center.

Mary’s brother, Antonio, was also hurt in the crash. Antonio is showing signs of improvement – moving his eyes and feet – but doctors say 6-year-old Malaysia has a traumatic brain injury; she’s still unresponsive.

“I can’t hear her voice, I can’t see her move,” Mary said.

Watch the interview here

Mary was in the car with Malaysia, Antonio, Antonio’s girlfriend and her baby. They were coming home from the laundromat. Michigan State Police were trying to pull over a woman on Carpenter Road on Flint’s north side. As soon as she saw the sirens and lights, she took off, hitting Mary and her family’s car.

“I just can’t believe something so simple would cause someone to risk hurting someone else, taking that chance,” Mary said.

Now, Mary is visiting her brother and daughter at Hurley every day. Her uncle, Louis, came in town to help the family out and is shocked at what happened.

“As a family, we are pro-police, we appreciate what they do for us in our community. But we also have to question the law in this particular instance. Was it worth it for what this lady did to put our family in jeopardy?” Louis said.

“I just ask people to pray for my baby and I just want justice,” Mary said.

The woman who hit the family was in jail for 48 hours, then released. Genesee County prosecutors say the case is still under investigation, and they’re waiting for a police report.

Reposted from ABC 12 by Natalie Zarowny

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Are police chases of non-violent felons worth the risk?

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DALLAS — Police chases sometimes end tragically.

In 2005, 21-year-old Guillermo Mendoza, an innocent bystander, was killed when Dallas police officers were chasing a drug suspect and crashed.

Mendoza’s brother told News 8 at the time his brother died for no reason.

“This time, it was my brother,” he said. “Next time, maybe someone else.”

Mendoza’s case was one of the reasons then-police chief David Kunkle changed the pursuit policy in 2006. He made it one of the most restrictive policies in the nation, allowing officers to only chase violent felons.

DISD Police Chief Craig Miller was with DPD at the time.

“It gets back to, is what they have done wrong enough to put our lives and citizens lives and that person’s life in jeopardy to pursue them?” Miller said.

In 2005, the year before DPD changed its policy, there were 354 chases — almost one a day. Twenty-one officers and 21 civilians were injured in the pursuits.

Since then, chase numbers have dropped dramatically and there has only been one person killed in a pursuit since the change.

“As police officers, we are issued weapons and we have bullets in them and we use them in situations where we are put in a position to use deadly force,” Miller said. “A vehicle is no less deadly in an incident that causes harm to someone.”

Yet, many law enforcement agencies won’t change their policies, under pressure from officers who believe not chasing lets bad guys go free.

Chief Miller adopted the Dallas police chase policy at DISD. He says the risk of catching minor offenders isn’t worth the risk to public safety.

Yesterday, Mesquite police chased after suspects accused of credit card fraud at a hotel. Those suspects then crashed into a school bus full of elementary students.

Luckily, no children were hurt.

Mesquite Police Chief Charles Cato did not return our phone calls or messages Friday. We wanted to ask him if he would take a look at changing the department’s policy to match the Dallas Police Department’s.

Copyright 2016 WFAA

Reposted from WFAA by Rebecca Lopez

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Chase ends when suspects hit school bus in Dallas

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DALLAS — A police pursuit ended Thursday afternoon when the suspects’ vehicle crashed into a school bus in northeast Dallas.

The chase began at a Fairfield Inn and Suites on the 4000 block of Towne Crossing Boulevard in Mesquite around 2:15 p.m., police said. A Mesquite police spokesperson said Thursday night the suspects were wanted for credit card fraud at the hotel.

The suspects, who have not been identified, crashed into a Dallas ISD school bus near the intersection of Skillman Street and Abrams Road in Dallas around 3:15 p.m.

“I was scared and I jumped out of my seat,” said fourth grader Pauvan Mung.

Two male suspects were apprehended at the scene and a female suspect was arrested later at the hotel.

There were approximately 60 children on the school bus, according to the company that operates the school district’s buses. No injuries were reported.

“We were turning left, and then the car was at maximum speed,” said fifth grader Kimberly Arreola. She says a red car hit the back left corner of the bus.

The school bus came from Hotchkiss Elementary. A different bus was sent to pick up the children and complete the route.

“We didn’t know what was happening, so the bus driver stopped and went outside and it was, like, an accident,” Mung said.

Many say it is amazing no children were hurt, but plenty were shaken and upset as they waited for their nervous parents to come pick them up. The story behind this crash was no source of comfort.

Mesquite police say staff at the Fairfield Inn at I-30 and 635 called Thursday after 2 p.m. about a group of people using a stolen credit card. When officers arrived, two suspects drove off in a red car, starting the chase that lead them to northwest Dallas. That pair was arrested after the crash, and a third suspect was handcuffed back at the hotel hours later.

By then, at the scene, the crash had been cleared and the kids had calmed down.

“I think it’s okay,” Mung said. “We are safe.”

But it’ll likely be a restless night for many of their parents, left wondering if this chase that risked their kids lives was worth it.

News 8 has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Mesquite Police Department for a copy of their policy on police chases.

Copyright 2016 WFAA

Reposted from  WFAA

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Police chase goes through golf course

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – A man fleeing police was arrested after he took the officers on a chase through a St. Paul golf course.

According to St. Paul Police, a 50-year-old man was driving north on Western Avenue around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, near Sherburne Avenue when he failed to make a complete stop at a stop sign.

View pictures of the golf course damage

Officers in a fully marked squad car turned on their emergency lights and sirens in an attempt to pull the man over. But that’s when police say he took off.

A short police chase ensued into the Phalen Park golf course, resulting in damage to holes 11 and 13.

Golfer scattering car chase under police review – ABC News

Officials say the damage wasn’t too extensive — mostly just tire tracks and ruts.

The suspect was eventually arrested inside Phalen Park.

Reposeted from KARE-11

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Keeping the public safe during a high speed chase

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SHAWANO, Wis. — – A 29-year-old Pulaski man was taken into custody early Friday morning after leading law enforcement on a high speed chase through three counties. His name has not been released.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Office was carrying out an attempt to locate from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and found the vehicle around 11:30 Thursday night, according to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department. They tried to stop the man, but he did not stop and proceeded to drive 86 miles through Shawano, Waupaca and Marathon Counties, the Sheriff’s office said.

The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department eventually stopped the vehicle and arrested the 29-year-old.

The number of high speed chases is on the rise in Wisconsin, according to the USA Today Network. It found the number reported last year was a record high.

However, that doesn’t mean the public is at risk. Law enforcement has specific protocol to determine whether or not to pursue a high speed chase.

“The amount of traffic on the roadway we have to consider, the demographics of the area of the pursuit,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Officer Scott Reignier.
“Is it happening in a city, in a residential area, out in the country?”
The Shawano County Sheriff’s department, involved in the chase overnight, knows how dangerous those chases can be.
“We lost a deputy a couple decades ago, he was responding to a high speed chase,” said Adam Bieber, Shawano County Sheriff.
“So our officers, our deputies, our administration know full well the dangers of high speed chases.”
Safety of both officers and the public is the number one priority for law enforcement.
“There are a lot of things to consider when being involved in pursuit, the most important being the danger to the public and reasonable safety,” said Scott Reignier, Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper. “At what point does the pursuit become more dangerous to the public than the actual behavior of the violator.”

The man involved in the overnight chase will be charged on a few different counts in Shawano and Marathon Counties, according to Shawano County Sheriff Adam Bieber.

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Deadly chase prompts questions

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Topeka police must analyze methods

A recent car chase in Topeka that took the life of an innocent woman must be analyzed.

The chase, which was conducted at relatively low speeds, concluded with a horrific crash, which killed a passenger of another vehicle.

What started as an attempt to pull over the driver of a vehicle found to have a faulty taillight prompted an 11-minute chase, mostly through North Topeka, before the driver crossed the Kansas River and eventually caused a three-vehicle crash at S.W. 6th and Topeka Boulevard.

The end result of this pursuit, which began about 5 a.m. Feb. 8, contributed to the death of a passenger in another vehicle. The unintended outcome was devastating.

The charges now faced by Sherman N. Jenkins, including first-degree murder, are appropriate.

The reckless actions that led to the death of Mia Holden are reprehensible.

Holden, 34, was the single mother of five young children. They moved to Topeka from Pennsylvania, according to a GoFundMe account arranged to defray the cost of funeral and travel expenses. According to that account, Holden was en route to an outpatient surgical procedure at the time of the crash. Donations can be made through the GoFundMe account, which also lists other methods to contribute to Holden’s family.

In light of this tragedy, the Topeka Police Department must diligently review the chase and determine if additional measures could have been taken to protect the innocent.

The most important factor prompting any chase is the nature of the crime. In this instance, the tags on the vehicle in question did not come back clean, which made the chase of the stolen truck justifiable.

In addition, two tire deflation devices placed at the south end of the Kansas Avenue bridge, which Jenkins crossed during the chase, failed to stop or slow his path.

Still, what could have been done differently? Could Jenkins have been stopped before traveling into a busier area downtown? These are questions Topeka police are no doubt asking after watching the chase end so disastrously.

The incident also should prompt discussion into the use of drones, which could track drivers who flee police stops and possibly enable law enforcement to curtail chases that endanger lives.

Any discussion to that effect is worthwhile after last week’s senseless tragedy.

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Child killed by driver fleeing police

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LANTANA — About three minutes after two young Miramar boys on a weekend family visit went out for a walk around the block with relatives Saturday afternoon, Ida Cuevas said she heard “sirens, screeching tires and then a bump.”

Rushing outside, Ida Cuevas, the boys’ grandmother, found a nightmare unfolding. “My first thought was horror,” she said. “Oh, my god. The children.”

One of the boys, 5-year-old Jayden Readon, had been run down by an out-of-control car, great-grandmother Flor Cuevas was screaming while holding the hand of his two-year-old brother, Carter Readon, and police were chasing the fleeing driver of the car as he bolted toward a stand of trees across a dry retention pond.

Jayden Readon, the only one injured by the car, was taken to Delray Medical Center in Delray Beach, where he died, according to Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities identified the driver of the 2008 Buick Enclave that struck the boy as Lex L. Eugene, 20.

Caught after a brief chase on foot, Eugene is charged with vehicular homicide, felony murder, driving without a license causing death and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

Additionally, he is charged with heroin trafficking, possession of heroin, resisting arrest without violence and fleeing and eluding police.

Eugene, of Boynton Beach, was on probation for carrying a concealed weapon, according to court records.

Eugene was sentenced to prison following convictions for cocaine possession and a weapons charge. He was released Dec. 19, 2015, after serving a little more than five months of a one-year sentence, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.

Eugene’s record of arrests began in 2011, when he was 16 and charged with aggravated battery, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records. Over the past five years he has also been charged with disorderly conduct, traffic violations, drug possession, resisting an officer and carrying an unlicensed firearm, records show.

He is due in court Monday for a bond hearing.

“This was a tragic accident that did not have to happen,” Ida Cuevas, 50, said Sunday afternoon as relatives and friends came and went from the family’s home. “We are not doing well.”

Family members said Jayden’s parents were too distraught to speak the media.

“He loved sports and dinosaurs,” said Cuevas of Jayden. “He was a 5-year-old kid who liked to run around. And he was snatched from us, just like that.”

The sequence of events that culminated in the boy’s death began about 1:30 p.m. when Boynton Beach police tried to stop a reckless driver at the corner of Miner Road and Federal Highway, said Officer Jaclyn Smith, a Boynton Beach police spokeswoman.

Eugene fled west on Miner Road and was in the eastbound lane when he attempted to make a right turn onto northbound Summit Road, according to sheriff’s deputies.

The two boys, along with great-grandparents Flor and Domingo Cuevas, both in their 80s, had just crossed Summit on the north side of Miner Road and were on the sidewalk at the northwest corner of the intersection, said Ida Cuevas.

As Eugene “attempted to make a right turn onto northbound Summit Road [he] lost control of the vehicle, went onto the sidewalk on the northwest corner of the intersection and struck the pedestrian with the front of [the vehicle],” Barbera said in a news release.

The car “continued in a northwest direction and struck a chain link fence, knocking down a section of the fence,” according to the release. “[Jayden] was thrown in a northwest direction and came to rest in the field on the northwest corner of the intersection.”

After the car stopped against the fence, Eugene got out and attempted to flee, but was caught by Boynton Beach police, according to Barbera.

Cuevas said she did not see either the car driven by Eugene or the police squad cars go by, so she does not know how fast the vehicles were traveling.

But she called Miner Road “a raceway,” where drivers often exceed the 30 miles an hour speed limit and said she would work to have speed bumps installed. The corner where the crash happened in across the street from Rolling Green Elementary School.

“What I do know,” said Cuevas, “is that there shouldn’t be a high-speed chase in a residential area.”

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Policy on Victoria Police pursuits must change to that the innocent can be protected

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NEW rules can sometimes create a worse problem than the one they were supposed to fix. When it comes to police pursuits, the Police Association of Victoria believes the policy introduced in July 2015 has massive problems.

We don’t advocate scrapping the rules.

But we are calling for measures to improve the system to swing the pendulum away from the “don’t even think about chasing” end of the spectrum. We want police and the public to be the beneficiaries of the policy, not the criminals.

A recent survey of association members on the pursuit policy drew a remarkable 3000 responses.

More than 93 per cent say it needs to change. Our members reported that offenders are “baiting” police because they know it’s unlikely they will be chased.

Members believe this phenomenon is having a flow on effect, increasing the rate of serious property crimes including car theft and burglary.

Drivers are even skipping away from drug and alcohol testing stations. Perhaps most alarmingly, our members believe the policy has caused a loss of confidence and faith in police.

Police recognise and appreciate the new rules were aimed at improving safety for the police and the public.

But it is time for a reality check.

The Police Association has made 17 recommendations to improve the policy following the survey, and expert analysis of attitudes and lessons learned from other jurisdictions.

The recommendations begin with the policy wording. It has a prohibitive tone and unclear definitions, leading to excessive risk-averse decisions. We need clearer guidelines on circumstances under which police pursuits can be activated, not just when they can’t.

Police need to be free to exercise their skills and training to weigh risks and benefits.

Moreover, the offences for which a pursuit is justified need to be expanded to include all indictable offences, including serious property crime.

Police aircraft should be available around the clock in metropolitan areas to limit high-speed ground pursuits.

We also need to make maximum use of new technologies and communications systems already available in some countries.

Some police suggest working with car manufacturers to develop a system under which a remote signal could be sent to a vehicle to restrict fuel supply or activate the brakes to slow or even stop it.

Victoria could also seek to develop a tagging system where a projectile containing a radio frequency transmitter could be launched at the pursued vehicle, allowing police to find it without a chase. Even better, laser-guided tagging would work in built-up locations and covered car parks.

It has also been suggested that we should consider adopting the “X-net” which wraps around a vehicle’s axle and will stop anything, including trucks, in about 100 metres.

Some of these proposals may sound a little James Bond-ish, but so did self-parking cars only a few years ago. Technology marches on quickly and should be continuously assessed.

Our members have more skin in the game, more frequently than anyone else. If they were only considering their own safety, they would instinctively support a policy where the default position is “No Pursuit”.

But they are dedicated to getting the best result for the community and their capacity to do their job to protect the public. It is therefore appropriate that the pendulum should swing back a few degrees.

RON IDDLES IS SECRETARY OF THE POLICE ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA

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Wild pursuit ends with crash in Shawnee

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A pursuit spanning several counties this morning has ended in Shawnee, where the vehicle crashed near a Shawnee business along Harrison Street.

Several law enforcement vehicles are damaged as a result of the chase.

The chase reportedly began near Holdenville.

Reports from Shawnee police indicate that the pursuit of a stolen vehicle began in Hughes County. Seminole County, Seminole police, tribal police, Pottawatomie County deputies and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol became involved as that pursuit continued.

At one point, they were traveling the wrong way on Interstate 40 and then exited at Kickapoo.

Shawnee Police Chief Mason Wilson said the pursuit came through Shawnee, hitting barricades and police vehicles along the way.

As a result, he said Hughes County, OHP, and Shawnee had damaged police vehicles.

The suspect was cornered in the parking lot of Buddy’s Home Furnishings and was taken into custody, he said.

Wilson said it was a very nice effort by all area law enforcement to stop the suspect without anyone getting injured.

As word of the chase spreads, many who saw it or were close to the action are commenting on Facebook.

One driver wrote:

“It was right by earlsboro exit. I went to pass a car on the highway, and right before I had seen about three cops on the other side of the highway, going the opposite direction, and didn’t really think nothing of it. Then when I got in the left lane, I had seen cop lights a little ahead of me coming in my direction, and then I had seen the vehicle, I think it was black or dark blue, coming straight for me, so of course I jerked back in the right lane. Luckily I didn’t get hit, my child was in the car with me.”

Watch for more updates as they become available.

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Man charged with murder after stolen vehicle, police chase caused deadly crash

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A man who police say stole a truck, sparked a police chase and caused a crash that killed a Topeka woman was charged Monday with first-degree murder.

Sherman N. Jenkins, 62, of Jefferson County, appeared before Judge William Ossmann in the morning via video feed from the jail. Jenkins, who was wearing a light blue jail jumpsuit, barely spoke.

Jenkins also is charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, two counts of aggravated battery, driving with a revoked license, misdemeanor theft and driving with a bad taillight.

Ossmann set Jenkins’ bond at $1 million cash or surety. An attorney from the Northeast Kansas Conflict Office will represent him.

Jenkins was driving a stolen red pickup truck when he led police on an 11-minute, “low-speed” chase early Thursday morning that ended in the crash. He was booked into the Shawnee County Jail on Friday after being released from a local hospital.

Mia Holden, 34, died after being injured in the three-vehicle crash at S.W. 6th and Topeka Boulevard.

Topeka Police Lt. Colleen Stuart said after the crash that Jenkins may have avoided at least one of two tire deflation devices — commonly referred to as “stop sticks” — at the south end of the Kansas Avenue Bridge, and the truck he was driving was gaining speed as it entered the intersection where the crash happened.

Holden was a passenger in a gold-colored car that Jenkins struck with the stolen truck, according to police. The passenger’s side of the heavily damaged car was caved in. The car came to rest facing northeast on the south side of the intersection. The red truck, which was damaged on its front, ended up facing the opposite direction.

Police said the pursuit that led up to the crash started at 5 a.m. after officers attempted to stop a vehicle for having no taillight at St. John and N. Kansas Avenue.

Jenkins refused to pull over, according to police, initiating a pursuit that police said “weaved around” North Topeka before heading south over the Kansas Avenue Bridge. Speeds were reported at about 18 mph before the truck reduced its speed to 5 mph on the bridge.

The pursuit continued south on S. Kansas Avenue from the south end of the Kansas Avenue Bridge. The truck then turned west on S.W. 3rd Street, went south down an alley, then turned west on S.W. 4th, going a few blocks to S.W. Topeka Boulevard.

The truck then turned left, or south, onto Topeka Boulevard, where it began to speed up.

The truck, traveling south on Topeka Boulevard, then entered the intersection at S.W. 6th, where it crashed into the car in which Holden was a passenger.

A smaller white car that also was hit by the truck had rear-end damage and came to rest facing northwest in a parking area along the north side of 6th, just west of Topeka Boulevard.

Patients from all three vehicles were taken by American Medical Response ambulance to a local hospital.

The Topeka Capital-Journal was the only media outlet present at Jenkins’ appearance on Monday.

Jenkins has a criminal history. According to Shawnee County court records, last year Jenkins pleaded guilty to making a felony criminal threat. Additionally, in a case from 2012, he pleaded guilty to the felony burglary of Meadows Elementary School, 201 S.W. Clay. When officers responded, a police K-9 located Jenkins and bit him (http://cjon.co/1ScavgI). Jenkins also pleaded guilty in a 2012 domestic battery case.

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Jets’ Sheldon Richardson pleads guilty in high-speed chase, gets no jail time

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY • New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson on Tuesday was fined $1,050 but escaped jail time for leading police on a high-speed, late-night chase on Highway 40 (Interstate 64) last July.

Associate Circuit Judge Norman Steimel issued the sentence as part of a plea agreement negotiated by prosecutors and Richardson’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum.

Richardson, 25, an O’Fallon, Mo., resident and former University of Missouri star, pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, speeding and running a red light. Those are misdemeanors. In addition to the fine, Richardson must perform 100 hours of community service.

Authorities said he drove a 2014 Bentley Silver Spur at speeds of up to 143 mph while trying to avoid O’Fallon police.

Richardson, who wore a black suit and red shoes to court, declined to comment to reporters Tuesday.

Later, Rosenblum, his attorney, said “he absolutely understands his behavior was not responsible. In fact, he sold his Bentley, so I don’t think he’ll be going 143 miles an hour anymore.”

Rosenblum added that Richardson recognizes that “he made a really poor choice.”

In the July incident, police said, an officer tried to stop Richardson’s car on the highway but Richardson exited at WingHaven Boulevard and sped through a red light to flee.

Police caught up with him after he pulled into the driveway of someone else’s home in a nearby neighborhood.

A 12-year-old male relative and two adult men also were in Richardson’s car, police said. After being stopped, police said they found a loaded semi-automatic handgun beneath the floor mat on the driver’s side and also detected “a very strong order of burned marijuana.”

 Prosecutors said Richardson possessed the gun legally and added that there was not enough evidence to file charges of drug possession or child endangerment.

As part of Richardson’s plea deal, the judge placed him on probation for two years on the resisting arrest charge. After the two-year period, the conviction would be removed from his record.

He also pleaded guilty to two minor traffic violations that were reduced from misdemeanors.

Richardson, in a news conference in the New York area shortly after charges were filed, apologized to his teammates, the Jets organization and his family.

He had already been suspended by the National Football League for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy before the high-speed chase came to light and charges were filed.

Rosenblum said Richardson is unlikely to face any further league discipline because of the road race incident.

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Officer hospitalized in ICU after high-speed chase

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A Westville police officer underwent surgery at an Arkansas hospital after being injured during a pursuit in Adair County on Monday evening.
The officer was involved in a crash during the pursuit on U.S. 59 just north of U.S. 62 in Westville about 8:15 p.m. The crash caused all lanes of the highway to close for several hours, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The officer was taken to a hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and underwent surgery Tuesday morning, the Westville Police Department reported. He remained in an intensive care unit following the surgery.
Neither police nor the Adair County Sheriff’s Office commented on the details of the pursuit and crash.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident.

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adminOfficer hospitalized in ICU after high-speed chase
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