I was recently interviewed by Harrison Keegan. I’m always happy to speak with the media. And in this case, I was pleased that the deputy followed procedures and did what was necessary to protect citizens as best he was able.
However, I am heartbroken about the deaths of the Jamin Seabert, 41, Kimberly Seabert, 39, and Braeden Seabert, 19, caused by a drug and alcohol-abuse driver.
Pursuit experts say Greene County deputy acted appropriately before fatal crash
Dash cam video shows suspect in fatal accident at Kearney and Glenstone fleeing from Greene County deputy. Andrew Jansen, News-Leader
The outcome was the worst-case scenario.
Authorities say a reckless driver who fled from a Greene County sheriff’s deputy Saturday night caused a major crash at the intersection of Glenstone Avenue and Kearney Street.
Three innocent people were killed, and the sheriff’s office has launched two separate investigations — one looking into the criminal culpability of the fleeing driver and another examining whether the deputies involved in the chase followed department procedure.
Sheriff Jim Arnott said he will wait for the Professional Standards Division to complete its investigation before saying anything definitive, but his first impression is that the pursuing deputy acted appropriately.
Two national police pursuit experts interviewed by the News-Leader said they agree with the sheriff.
The News-Leader asked the experts to review video clips of the pursuit from the TV show “Live PD” and the deputy’s dashboard camera, along with additional context provided by court documents and an interview with Sheriff Arnott.
While both experts said they had some concerns about the overall handling of the incident, they said they would not fault the pursuing deputy for his actions.
“The deputy wasn’t perfect, but he did probably everything that could have been expected of him,” said Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who has co-authored a book on police pursuits.
Kenney said the deputy briefly went into a lane of oncoming traffic as the suspect was fleeing the crash scene on foot, and that is a move Kenney would advise against. But overall, Kenney said the deputy’s response to the situation was reasonable.
While they didn’t fault the pursuing deputy, Kenney and another expert — Pursuit for Change founder Jonathan Farris — said they had concerns about the department’s use of spike strips during the pursuit.
The sheriff’s office says it deployed spike strips and took out two of the fleeing suspect’s tires about a mile-and-a-half before the fatal crash.
Kenney and Farris said they will be interested to see whether the investigation determines taking out the tires made the fleeing truck more difficult to control and might have contributed to the crash.