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Every week police chase crashes kill innocent bystanders

Click on pictures for their stories.

Allison AngermanTalminTabatha BergSal Pastor Cole
Kristin SaragusaBecker SistersCody MorrisonIsaac Brown

"Every pursuit has the potential to end in a deadly crash—regardless of the speed, how long it lasts, or the reason for the chase … regardless of the time of day, traffic, or weather conditions. While the first cause falls squarely on the drivers who flee, pursuit fatalities can no longer be justified by simply saying, 'If the driver had not fled, this [innocent victims being killed and permanently injured] would not have happened.'spacer—Candy Priano, Executive Director, PursuitSAFETY

ADD NAMES: Please send pictures & information about your innocent loved one(s) killed or maimed as a result of a police chase to Candy Priano at
We post information on Kristie's Law and

"Think about this...
Nationally, we say about one-third of our police pursuits conclude in a collision. You tell me another law enforcement activity where one-third of the time it goes bad and they continue to do it." high-speed chase is one of the few times when police officers will knowingly put the lives of innocent civilians at risk."
—Capt. Travis Yates, Tulsa, OK, Police Department and, August 3, 2008
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Officer Training
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Over the decades, Ret. Police Chief D.P. Van Blaricom said, he has seen many police departments write more restrictive policies but not follow them. For a policy to work, he said, officers need to be trained in it and understand the consequences of not following it.

Van Blaricom also said he sees a trend of police departments reporting that they were getting ready to call off a chase or just about to call it off when a wreck happened. Such was the case with the Lewis pursuit; Louisa Sheriff Ashland D. Fortune has said he had just walked into the office to call off the high-speed chase when the car crashed.

Van Blaricom is skeptical of the frequency of such claims. “The timing could not be fortuitous so often,” he said.
Read the complete article, "Fatal pursuits will not alter policy" at, August 10, 2008

"Catching up," "following," and "pursuing" — terms used to justify chases that kill and maim innocent bystanders. The physical chase lasts an average of 2.5 minutes, and it's estimated that 30-40 percent end in crashes. Law enforcement officials can and do say to the media, and through them to us, these statements:
  • "The pursuit just got started or just ended."
  • "We were not chasing; we were 'following' or 'catching up' to the suspect."
  • "The pursuit was not high-speed." If the pursuit was not high-speed that means low-speed chases kill?
  • "We were backing off."
    Officers back off when they turn off their lights and sirens, turn around, and drive away in the opposite direction of the suspect. Backing off is most successful when it is done immediately. It is too late to back off when the pursuit is approaching a school zone, begins on busy streets, or the known driver is a flight risk, e.g., parolee, car thief. When officers follow (even at a low speed) the drivers believe they are still being pursued ... and they are being pursued.
  • Popular link: Some of the "Police Chases that Weren't" are right here.

Another Reality: Pursuits begIn before the physical chase, as evidenced by 3-year-old Talmin's story.


Darren Spurlock, 39
Date of Crash: May 30, 2008

Darren Spurlock, 39, Madison, Alabama

Darren Spurlock left behind his wife
and two sons, ages 6 and 3.

Redstone Arsenal talks about police chase

June 2, 2008—NewsChannel 19's Amber Stuart Reporting: New details in the Huntsville Police chase that killed an innocent man.

Paulette Woodall is the passenger in the car that hit and killed Darren Spurlock. She's being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and probation violation.

The police chase breached security at Redstone Arsenal and ended on the federal facility, killing an innocent man and now some people are asking, could it have been prevented with more warning from Huntsville Police?

Redstone Arsenal is conducting their own investigation of what happened Friday.

Police started chasing Valerie Cox and her passenger Paulette Woodall around McVay, Patton, and Drake Avenue. Then, the car turned on Martin Road headed towards Redstone Arsenal. The women had no problem making it through Gate 1.

Could it have been prevented with a little more warning from Huntsville Police?

"It is clear to me they did make a call. Now the question is did is come soon enough," said Major General Jim Myles. "To allow us to take action? I will submit to you the timeline is pretty tight."

We drove the speed from the gate to the Parkway and it took a little over two minutes. In the chase it certainly provided a different circumstance.

"Of course, where you have an incident occurring where Huntsville Police is chasing two individuals at a very high rate of speed it provides a significant challenge here to being a security that you'd like to provide," said Major General Myles.

Unfortunately, Redstone Arsenal lost a family member during this police chase.

Darren Spurlock, was killed when police say Cox slammed into Spurlock t-boning his truck and killing him. Police reports say Cox speeds topped around 70 miles per hour in a 40 zone.

"Friday was a tough day for the Redstone family," said Major General Myles. "We lost a valued employee from the Redstone Arsenal from NASA. Mr. Spurlock is married with two children and it's very, very tough whenever we lose someone especially with the senseless accident that occurred on this installation."

Major General Jim Myles says they plan to improve security to all Redstone Gates in the next month. He says that plan was already in place before Friday's incident.

Chase victims often bystanders
20 times more innocent drivers killed than cops

Sunday, July 27, 2008
The Huntsville Times Staff Writer

Innocent motorists such as NASA engineer Darren Spurlock are 20 times more likely to be killed than the officer when a police chase goes awry.

From 2000 through 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 2,500 people were killed during police pursuits. Of those, 40 were in the police vehicle, 1,606 were in the chased vehicle, 785 were in another vehicle, and just under 100 were pedestrians. Read more.

Published: June 04, 2008

Darren M. Spurlock
May 30, 2008

Darren Michael Spurlock, 39, of Madison, AL, formerly from Middle Tennessee, passed away Friday, May 30, 2008. Funeral services were held June 3 at Berryhill Funeral Home in Huntsville, AL, with Brother Gary Bradley of Mayfair Church of Christ officiating. Burial with graveside services will be June 4 at Hermitage Memorial Garden in Old Hickory, TN.

Mr. Spurlock was a graduate of David Lipscomb University, Tennessee Technological University, and The University of Missouri-Rolla. He was employed as an engineer by the Boeing Company for 11 years and had recently begun working for NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

He is survived by his wife, Kelly Redwine Spurlock, and two young sons, Ben, age 6 and James, age 3. He is also survived by his mom, Rebecca Ferguson (Joe) and his dad, Dwight Spurlock (Linda); his sister, Kristi Upchurch (Wayne); niece and nephew, Samantha and Dylan; two brothers, David and Philip Spurlock; a sister Christie Davis; grandmothers, Aline Spurlock and Margaret Ferguson; in-laws, Jerry and Eva Redwine; Oliver Redwine; Ronnie and his daughter Chelsea; Chris and Dana, and the entire Redwine family.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to Mayfair Church of Christ at 1095 Carl T. Jones Drive, Huntsville, AL 35802.


James Williamson, 66
Date of Crash: July 21, 2007

James Williamson, 66, Goshen, Alabama

Police chase from Panhandle into Alabama ends in fatal crash, an excerpt from this story, right here.

"He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother, and he would give you the shirt off his back," Williamson's younger sister, Judy Goode, told The Dothan Eagle for a story Sunday. "He was a wonderful person, and we can't believe this tragedy happened."

Goode said she is not sure what her life will be like without her brother in it.

"He was always very protective of me," she said. "I always knew I could count on him to be there. I just can't imagine him not being there anymore."

"He was just the best brother ever, and that's all I can say."

Pursuit policies need an overhaul

Every law enforcement agency involved must give this tragedy a full investigation, along with a thorough review of each department's policies regarding pursuits. Lutz had outstanding warrants; however, the nature of those warrants should be taken into account. Police had his vehicle description and tag number, and presumably knew who he was and where he could be found.



Officer Jason Robert Eckes, 32
Date of Crash: April 19, 2005

Birmingham Officer
Jason Robert Eckes, 32, Homewood, Alabama

Officer Eckes was off-duty. He was riding his bike. "He was just a guy out riding his bike," said Police Chief Annetta Nunn.

The pursuit began at 10:07 p.m. when a North Precinct officer attempted to stop a pickup truck in the 1100 block of Fourth Avenue North, Police Chief Annetta Nunn said. The truck was being stopped because the area is known for drug traffic, the chief said.

News Stories

University of Alabama Announcer's son arrested, click here.

Grand jury to hear murder case, click here.

Links to other stories, click here.


William Joyner, 53, and his wife, Annie Lou Joyner, 44,
their son, Ryan Jason Joyner, 5, Mrs. Joyner's aunt,
Mary Bannister Garms, 68, her granddaughter, Regina Lynn Foster, 16,
and family friend Patricia Kay Prudoehl, 18

Date of Crash: June 21, 1986

Rig fleeing police hits van; 5 die
Patricia Prudoehl died later
becoming the sixth victim

by David Corvette, Staff Writer
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
Published June 22, 1986, The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution EDITION: The Atlanta Journal

ANNISTON, Ala. - A tractor-trailer driven by Elmer G. Milteer of Newyork City, who failed to stop at a weighing station, led Georgia and Alabama police on a high-speed chase before slamming into a van on Interstate 20 Saturday, killing five people and injuring two others. Four people in the van died at the scene, and a fifth — 5-year-old Jason Joyner of Bynum, Ala. — died in a helicopter en route to the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham.

Milteer is charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and attempting to elude police officers, Smith said.

Names of most of the victims were not immediately available, but an Alabama Department of Public Safety spokesman said police believed they were all related. The victims were believed to be from Alabama, Minnesota and Illinois, he said.

The accident occurred about 10:30 a.m. CDT when the 18-wheel rig carrying packages of bubble gum crashed into the van on I-20 about five miles west of here, said Capt. E.C. Dothard of the Alabama State Patrol.

After striking the van, the truck traveled another 100 feet, rolled over and burst into flames. Police pulled the driver out of the cab.

The truck had been pursued to the Alabama state line by officers of the Georgia Department of Transportation weight detail after the driver refused to stop at a weigh station near Carrollton.

Georgia authorities notified Alabama troopers who joined the chase at the state line and followed the truck about 30 miles into Talladega County. The chase reached speeds of about 70 mph.

The truck had been traveling in the emergency lane for about three miles when it struck the van, Dothard said. "For the last three miles, he was running 70 mph on the shoulder of the road," he said.

Dothard said investigators believed the driver of the van had seen the chase and either had stopped or was stopping in the emergency lane when the collision occurred. Investigators "said it was in the emergency lane, probably stopped," he said.

Four people in the van died at the scene, and a fifth - 5-year-old Jason Joyner of Bynum, Ala. - died in a helicopter en route to the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham.

One survivor, 20-year-old Patti Prudoehl of St. Charles, Minn., was taken to the UAB Hospital, where she was reported in critical condition late Saturday in the intensive care unit. A male survivor was taken to Regional Medical Center here, where he was listed in good condition, according to an evening supervisor.

The truck driver, who "didn't even get a scratch" in the fiery collision, was taken to Talledega County Jail, a State Patrol spokesman said.

He was identified as Elmer G. Milteer, 34, of 516 W. 50th St., New York City. Milteer gave investigating officers several fictitious names, Dothard said.

Police were testing Milteer for drugs and alcohol, he said.

Robert Rumsey, district attorney for Talladega County, has decided to charge Milteer with five counts of vehicular homicide, said Roy Smith, public information officer for the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Milteer also has been charged with reckless driving and attempting to elude police officers, Smith said.

Smith said Milteer gave no reason for not stopping at the weigh station. "We have no reason yet," he said. "He was driving very erratically during this time and had run off the road several times."

The chase involved seven police and Alabama State Patrol cars, some of which had established a "rolling roadblock" in front of the truck to try to slow it down to an eventual stop, Dothard said.

Dothard said state troopers "did exactly the right thing" in their efforts to apprehend the truck driver. "They handled it just right," he said. "It's just unfortunate that innocent people had to die from reckless driving like this."

At the scene, wrecker service operator Dillard Higginbotham described the carnage he witnessed when he first arrived at the accident site to haul away the vehicles.

"It was a horrible scene," he said, "to see people laying out on the road, dead for no reason at all. They were laying all up and down the road."

Higginbotham said the van was "crumpled up like an accordion" after the truck rammed it, ejecting the passengers.

"It looked like they'd been using it [the van] to play ball with, the way it was all bent up," he said.

The wheels from a child's toy truck that fell from the van lay on the side of the interstate near the 100-foot-long skid marks leading from the spot where the van came to rest to the charred truck. Nearby, a broken pair of men's eyeglasses were stuck in the ground near a bloodstain.

Higginbotham said troopers told him that the truck was traveling 70 to 75 mph when it hit the van, a 1986 white Chevrolet. Several pine saplings on the side of the road were snapped off at the trunk in the accident.

A State Patrol spokesman said Alabama state troopers were continuing to investigate the accident and notify relatives.

Copyright 1986 The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution

Family outing ends in tragedy in Coldwater, Alabama

by Monte Plott, Staff Writer
Published June 23, 1986, The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution EDITION: The Atlanta Journal

Authorities continued to try to piece together details of a collision that, a day earlier killed six occupants of a van that truck driver Elmer G. Milteer slammed into following a high speed chase that led police on a 20-mile chase from a weigh-in station in Georgia to an open stretch of I-20 near Coldwater, Alabama. Killed were William Joyner, 53, and his wife, Annie Lou Joyner, 44, their son, Ryan Jason Joyner, 5, Mrs. Joyner's aunt, Mary Bannister Garms, 68, her granddaughter, Regina Lynn Foster, 16, and Patricia Kay Prudoehl, 18.

They had been to breakfast at Shoney's, a family affair, and were heading back home in William Joyner's new red and white Chevrolet van when the police cars came rushing up from the rear.

Joyner pulled over to the side of Interstate 20 and stopped, less than half a mile from the exit he would have taken.

Sitting beside him, Steve Foster glanced in the rear-view mirror. And in a blur of blue lights and sirens, he saw the truck.

"I knew it was going to hit us. He was coming up so fast, straight at us, and we were sitting there at a dead stop.

"I had my seat belt on and I wanted to undo it and jump out, but by the time I even reached for the buckle, he hit us and I was through the window," Foster said Sunday, as authorities continued to piece together details of a collision a day earlier that killed six occupants of the van, including Joyner. Foster, who was injured, was the lone survivor among the van's occupants.

Authorities said a truck driver from New York led law officers on a 20-mile chase from a weigh-in station in Georgia to an open stretch of I-20 near this east Alabama town. With police cars running in front, alongside and behind, the tractor-trailer rig veered into the emergency lane beside the interstate and plowed into Joyner's van.

Killed were Joyner, 53, and his wife, Annie Lou Joyner, 44, both of nearby Bynum. Their son, 5-year-old Ryan Jason Joyner, died en route to a Birmingham hospital.

The other victims were identified as Mrs. Joyner's aunt, Mary Bannister Garms, 68, of Munford, and her granddaughter, 16-year-old Regina Lynn Foster of Anniston. Another passenger, Patricia Kay Prudoehl, 18, of St. Charles, Minn., became the accident's sixth fatality when she died Sunday afternoon at the University of Alabama in Birmingham Hospital.

Foster, 18, of Anniston, who is Mrs. Garms' grandson, was in satisfactory condition Sunday at Regional Medical Center in Anniston. His injuries included a broken leg, hospital officials said.

A Joyner family member said Miss Prudoehl was a friend visiting the Foster teenagers.

The truck driver, Elmer G. Milteer, 34, of Brooklyn, was in the Talladega County Jail on Sunday charged with reckless driving and attempting to elude police officers. Authorities said other charges would be brought today against Milteer, who was hauling a load of bubble gum from Flowery Branch, Ga., to California for Bullet Express Trucking Co. when he sped past a weigh-in station in Carroll County, Ga., without stopping, and Georgia authorities fell into pursuit.

During the chase, according to Lt. Roy Smith of the Alabama State Patrol, cars from Georgia and Alabama agencies as well as local law enforcement departments surrounded the truck in an effort to get the driver to stop.

"He never topped 75 mph, but he wouldn't stop," Smith said. "Our men in front of him would slow down but he'd come right up on them or swerve into the emergency lane, and for them it was either having a wreck right there or going on."

Milteer had been driving for Bullet Express Trucking for about a year, said Ken Knight, manager of operations for the New York-based company.

Reached at home Sunday, Knight said he didn't remember any problems with the driver. "He had plenty of time to get where he was going," Knight said. "I'm just flabbergasted that he was driving like that."

Dee Monte, safety director for the trucking firm, said that Milteer had never had an accident. While he had only been with Bullet since 1985, he had been driving tractor-trailers since 1974, Ms. Monte said.

Milteer is single, she said.

"He seems like a very clean-cut, normal person, just a quiet guy. I'm very confused at this point," she added.

On Sunday, with authorities still unable to explain why a trucker hauling bubble gum would blast down the highway toward a fatal accident, neighbors and relatives flocked to the split-level house where the Joyners had lived for a decade. In addition to their 5-year-old son, the Joyners had three other sons and a daughter, all in their 20s.

"It just doesn't make sense. They were just doing what they were supposed to do," said Rita Joyner, a daughter-in-law. "Mr. Joyner was the kind of driver, if you run the siren, he's going to pull over."

Bullet Express officials also are at a loss as to why Milteer would not stop at the weigh-in station, since their records indicate the truck's load was well under the legal weight, Ms. Monte said.

"There was obviously no reason for him to do that. There were no drugs or alcohol involved," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Alabama State Patrol said authorities are awaiting the results of blood and urine tests.

Joyner, who worked as a welder rebuilding tanks at the Army depot in Bynum, had bought his van only a couple of weeks earlier, said neighbor Rickey East.

"I happened to be driving down I-20right after it happened, and I started to stop because it looked like it might be his van," East said. "But that wreck looked so bad and everything, and I couldn't think of a reason why they'd be out on the interstate, so I just got on out of there."

East speculated that Joyner was taking Mrs. Garms to her home; otherwise he would probably have driven home from the restaurant on U.S. 78, parallel to the interstate.

Sunday afternoon, under a sweltering sun, gawkers stopped on the interstate and clustered at the charred debris from the truck wreckage. Several people left the scene clutching boxes of gum.

A few miles away, East and other neighbors spent the afternoon helping out at the Joyner house, as family members struggled with making funeral arrangements.

"They were just good people. They took care of that family, and didn't nothing bother them," East said.

"Lord, if they'd just have known to keep going and not stop," he added. "But I guess that's what most people would do."

Staff writer Dan Baum also contributed to this report.
The last eight paragraphs did not appear in the final edition.

Study Alabama's Pursuit Practices



Study Alaska's Pursuit Practices





Alexander Ahmad, 24
Date of Crash: December 5, 2007

Crash victim's family thanks community

by David Biscobing,
East Valley Tribune

Dec. 7, 2007—About 100 family members and friends of Alexander Ahmad gathered Saturday night in Scottsdale to thank the community for its support following a fatal head-on collision earlier this week.

Ahmad, 24, was an innocent victim in Wednesday's head-on crash in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Police said the collision was caused intentionally by a man fleeing from officers after a Tempe bank robbery. More


DPS: Suspect in crash intended to die

Dec. 7, 2007—A bank robbery suspect being chased by police intended to die when he crashed head-on into another car, killing that driver and himself, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

Richard Schwartz, 25, the suspect, and Alexander Ahmad, 24, an innocent motorist, died in the crash near the Loop 101 and McKellips in the east Valley on Wednesday afternoon. The wreck was captured by television news helicopters covering a chase that began when, police said, Schwartz robbed a Bank of America branch in Tempe.

DPS Highway Patrol division Chief Jack Lane declined to say Thursday what evidence investigators have that Schwartz was bent on suicide. He said discussing details could jeopardize the investigation.

DPS is still investigating whether officers acted properly while pursuing Schwartz.

``Preliminary investigation clearly indicates that our officers were acting within policy at the time," Lane said. ``We have a pursuit policy in place to guide us in these circumstances, and that's a key part of this investigation -- to make sure our officers were in compliance with that policy."

Lane said there would be a complete review of the case.

``We always look for training issues, equipment issues and the work that our officers are doing, we as an agency always take a look at how we can do things better and make it safer for the public."

Right after the crash happened Wednesday, DPS Sgt. Tim Mason said the policy authorizes pursuits of criminal suspects when they threaten the public safety. He said Schwartz, who had a gun, was clearly a threat.

Investigators believe Schwartz may have been involved in three other attempted bank robberies in Chandler, two in November and another on Monday.

Alexander Ahmad, 24,
Scottsdale, Arizona

Ahmad's MySpace

Like many people these days, Ahmad shared things about himself on a MySpace Web page.

Here's a message left March 16, 2008, by his cousin Nargie:

My sweet cousin. I think of you everyday and pray that this was all a bad dream and things will be normal again. That I will see your handsome face and hear you goofy laugh. I think of your jokes and your smile, your kindness. Nothing will ever be the same again..not without you. I love you so much, I hope I told you enough. I really miss your hugs, I miss everything about you, especially the way you pulled up your socks at bowling! I love you and I know one day I'll see you again. With all my love Nargie

He listed some of his hobbies, such as snowboarding, working on his car, spinning records and hanging out in Scottsdale. Ahmad was a 2002 graduate of Scottsdale's Saguaro High School and attended Scottsdale Community College. He was pursuing a degree in math.

Ahmad worked for a time as a valet at a Scottsdale nightclub.

His MySpace page already had several entries memorializing him. Many friends are commenting on how much they were going to miss him and what a great person he was.

More stories


Jim Cox, Scott Bowerbank,
Rick Krolak, and Craig Smith

Date of Crash: July 27, 2007

4 die when news helicopters collide covering police chase
Arizona Helicopter Crew

Arizona reporters cover their own tragedy

It was moments before Friday's midair crash that killed four people, and pilot Craig Smith wanted to know the exact location of Channel 3's helicopter.

Only his voice could be heard:

"Where's 3?"

"Like how far? Oh, jeez."

"Oh, jeez."

Erika Nish, 30 and Stephen Williams 22
Date of Crash: April 1, 2007

Erika Nish, 30, Sacaton

Stephen Williams, 22, Sacaton

Victims of fiery crash in Tempe identified

KATIE MCDEVITT, East Valley Tribune

April 2, 2007—Tempe police have identified the man and woman killed during a police chase Sunday as Sacaton residents Erika Nish, 30, and Stephen Williams, 22.

Police said they were following Joe Miranda Lopez’s red SUV when it ran a red light at Rural and Warner roads after 4 p.m. and struck a vehicle, ejecting its occupants. The passengers were not wearing seatbelts.

Lopez’s SUV then burst into flames, and he fought with officers who tried to rescue him from his vehicle. He was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Police said they had been following Lopez with lights and sirens for a couple streets after he attempted a burglary near Carver Road and Mill Avenue.

At one point, Lopez appeared to be stopping, but instead tried to drive his car into an officer.

Police are recommending the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to charge Lopez with burglary, aggravated assault and two counts first degree murder.

Driver in police pursuit arrested in deaths

2 killed in crash as burglary suspect tries to elude Tempe officers

Eugene Scott , The Arizona Republic

April 3, 2007A 30-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man, both of Sacaton, were killed during a Tempe police pursuit of a burglary suspect Sunday.

Joe Lopez, 38, of Maricopa, was driving the vehicle that hit and killed the two when he ran a red light at Warner and Rural roads, police said.

Tempe police were called at 3:52 p.m. Sunday about a burglary in progress and given a description of the car involved.

Police saw a car that fit the description traveling west on Carver Road and followed the car into a cul-de-sac, police said. Lopez was driving the car.

Three police cars fanned out to block Lopez, but he accelerated toward one of the vehicles, according to police. The vehicle moved out of the way to avoid injuries, allowing Lopez to escape. Police caught up with him at Rural and Carver roads, police said.

Officers activated their lights as they pursued the suspect southbound and approached Warner and Rural roads. Lopez drove through the red light and hit a vehicle traveling west on Warner, police said.

Tempe police spokesman Mike Horn said officials believe police were in compliance with department policy when they pursued the suspect, because the pursuit was in response to an aggravated assault. However, he said they will conduct a standard investigation of the incident.

Neither of the two passengers in the vehicle hit by the suspect wore seat belts, police said. Erika Nish and Stephen Williams were ejected from the car and died.

Lopez's car went off into a landscaped area and then caught on fire. Police said Lopez fought with them while they were trying to rescue him. They eventually got fire extinguishers and got him out of the car, they said. Lopez was taken to a trauma center and was released Monday afternoon.

Police arrested Lopez on suspicion of first-degree murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and unlawful flight from law enforcement.

Republic reporter Michael Struening contributed to this article.

Brian Cook, 41
Date of Crash: June 23, 2006

Brian Cook, 41, Killed in
Tolleson, Arizona, Police Chase
News 5, CBS, —
June 23, 2005

PHOENIX (AP) — A 25-year-old man allegedly involved in a beer run is being booked on murder charges following a fatal collision early today at a west Phoenix intersection.

Police say the suspect was trying to evade a Tolleson motorcycle officer when he ran a red light at 83rd Avenue and McDowell and the car collided with a pickup. The driver of the pickup, 41-year-old Brian Cook, was killed.

Phoenix police Sergeant Andy Hill says the suspect, Arnoldo Barriente, was treated at a hospital and was arrested upon his release. Hill says because Barriente was running from police he was being booked for investigation of first-degree murder.

Hill says a passenger in Barriente's car allegedly stole beer from a convenience store a short time earlier, and a Tolleson motorcycle officer was pursuing the car after the thief when the accident occurred.

Update Jan. 22, 2008

Man to spend life in prison
for fatal Tolleson crash

by Brent Whiting
The Arizona Republic

A drunken driver who killed a man while trying to flee from Tolleson police will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Arnold C. Barriente Jr., 25, who was found guilty of first-degree murder and a laundry list of other crimes, has been
consigned to life in prison.

The Phoenix man was sentenced last week in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Prosecutors said the case marked the first time that a defendant has been found guilty of first-degree murder for killing somebody while unlawfully trying to elude police.

The victim, Brian David Cook, 41, of Phoenix, was killed June 23, 2006, after Barriente stole two cases of a beer from a Tolleson gas station, according to police.
Barriente then ran a red light and police tried to stop him for the red-light violation, before a half-mile pursuit that ended in a fatal crash at 83rd Avenue and McDowell Road.

Police said Barriente had been driving with a suspended license and a blood-alcohol level of 0.118 percent. The legal blood-alcohol concentration in Arizona is 0.08.

Barriente, an ex-convict, deserves to be removed from society, said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
"While justice clearly caught up with the defendant, it cannot make up for the death of Mr. Cook, whose life was cut short by a drunk driver," Thomas said.

In addition to the murder charge, Barriente was found guilty by a jury of negligent homicide, endangerment, two counts of aggravated DUI, unlawful flight and shoplifting.

He was released from prison April 20, 2006, after serving two years for robbery and possession of a forgery device.

Police got their beer thieves, but at what cost?

By Laurie Roberts
Arizona Republic

June 23, 2006 — A tragic story out of west Phoenix early this morning. Two guys steal a pair of 30-packs of beer from a gas station mini mart and a Tolleson police officer gives chase.

It didn't take long before the eastbound beer thieves, one an ex-con, blasted through a red light at 83rd Avenue and McDowell, killing 41-year-old Brian Cook, who was driving his pickup truck south through the intersection.

The driver/theft suspect, Arnoldo Barriente, 25, was arrested and will likely face murder charges.

Phoenix police said the officer "was complying with the law" when he gave chase. If so, then the law ought to change. Surely in this day, there's a better way to catch beer thieves than with a chase through city streets.


Cody Brett Morrison, 22
Date of Crash: April 7, 2005

Cody Brett Morrison,
and his friends were doing everything right. They had no place to go when the car fleeing police crashed into their car.

Reason for chase: Officers chased a suspected drunken driver.



Editorial from the Arizona Republic:

The bungled police pursuit of a suspected drunken driver that killed a Scottsdale man on Loop 101 resulted in the punishment of five officers.

But many questions remain.

The big one: Why did this happen?

As the facts of the April 7 incident emerge, it is clear that police did not follow the department's own chase policies.

Death Penalty not sought in fatal crash

The Arizona Republic, Sept. 15, 2006
Senior prosecutors cited the Scottsdale (Arizona) Police Department's admission that officers violated the department's chase policy in engaging Szymanski's car as one factor in the decision, among others.

Study Arizona's Pursuit Practices




Isaac Brown, 58
Date of Crash: June 14, 2007

Reason for chase: suspect driving stolen car.

Isaac Brown remembered on Fox News, right here.

Links to other stories, right here.

Isaac Brown

Loving husband and
loving & caring father
Isaac Brown, 58, Little Rock


An innocent driver, Isaac Brown, 58, is dead after his car was struck Thursday night on Wright Avenue by a stolen car being chased by Little Rock police. High-speed pursuit of suspects in violent crimes is one thing. Pursuit of a stolen car strikes me as another. But it's also easy to second-guess cops out on the street. In this case, the stolen car had stopped for a patrol officer, then sped off when he walked up to the car. Two passengers in the stolen car were taken to hospitals after being ejected in the wreck.

Arkansas Blog, right here.

Trooper Mark W. Carthron, 31, West Memphis, Arkansas September 15, 2005

Study Arkansas' Pursuit Practices



Kayla Woods

Kayla Woods, 6
Los Angeles
June 10, 2010

Kayla, playing outside her home, was killed as a result of an LAPD pursuit for drug-dealing suspects.

Marquita Bosley and son

Marquita Bosley, 25
August 26, 2009

Family of fatal Oakland crash victim 'shocked and devastated'

August 26, 2009, Oakland, CA — Marquita Bosley, 25, of Pittsburg. was killed and her son, Nai'ere, was critically injured.

Jeanette Bowie, Bosley's aunt, said Bosley had left her house in Oakland on Wednesday evening to take Nai'ere to see his father — just before the fatal crash.

"She always put him first. Always!" said Casey, looking at pictures of Bosley and Nai'ere.

"She always made sure he looked good for church," said Bosley's sister Tania Pierce, looking at one picture of Nai'ere in slacks, a white button-down shirt and a blue checkered sweater vest.

Read more stories, click here.


Jason Allen Siebert, 32
Date of Crash: December 6, 2008
Jason Siebert

Jason Allen Siebert, 32,
Long Beach, formerly of Fresno/Clovis

A blog set up in celebration of his life can be found at

Victim sang passionately for the arts

By Kelly Puente, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/12/2008

LONG BEACH - Jason Allen Siebert lived for the arts.

Whether it was performing dinner theater on the Queen Mary, playing Goofy at Disneyland or bringing music to schools through the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Siebert was passionate about performance.

"It was just as much an avocation as a vocation," said friend Jason Holland. "The arts were part of his life, and he shared it with everyone."

Siebert, a 32-year-old La Habra resident, was killed in a car collision Saturday when a suspect fleeing from a police officer broadsided his 1998 BMW convertible.

The suspect, 22-year-old Cody Adam Brown of Long Beach, has been charged with second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and evading causing death. Brown is scheduled to be arraigned in Long Beach Superior Court on Dec. 23.

Court records show Brown was arrested for driving under the influence once before in April 2007. The charges were dismissed when he paid fines and completed a drunken driving education class, records show.

At about 2 a.m. Saturday, an officer spotted Brown driving a 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck through a red light at the corner of Bellflower Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway.

Brown headed south on Bellflower, swung a right on Colorado Street and continued to blow through stop signs and street lights, police said. He continued west on Fourth Street at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, with the officer following several blocks behind, said Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Pratt.

The police chase ended when Brown's truck plowed into Siebert's southbound BMW at Redondo Avenue. The truck also collided with a taxicab heading eastbound on Fourth Street.

Lt. Josef Levy said a preliminary investigation revealed that the officer followed police protocol.

"Based on preliminary details, this driver posed a threat when he failed to yield," Levy said. "We have an obligation under these circumstances to apprehend the suspect."

Once an officer initiates a chase, the officer must call a supervisor to make a decision on whether or not to continue, Levy said. Deciding factors including time of day, weather,

population and if the driver appears to be a danger. In this case, the chase lasted a matter of minutes and the officer did not have time to call a supervisor, Pratt said.

Friends said Siebert's loss is devastating to the Southern California theater community.

For the past five years, he worked in the Orange County Performing Arts Center's education department, in charge of organizing theater performances at schools.

"He was an amazing talent and passionate advocate for the arts," said Orange County Performing Arts Center director Terry Dwyer.

Siebert's background was in singing and acting, and he performed on the Queen Mary in Tibbies Great American Cabaret, played a butler in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and worked as different characters at Disneyland.

"The biggest thing about Jason was how bright and friendly he was and how easy he was to work with," said Todd Vigiletti of Star Gazer Productions, which owns Tibbies. "It shows you, as much as we plan for our lives, we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

Best friend Joe Maioriello, who first met Siebert at Biola University in La Mirada, said the two bonded over being gay and growing up in religious families.

Born and raised in Fresno, Siebert grew up in a family of Mennonites, an Anabaptist Christian denomination, his friend said.

"The big struggle of his life was rectifying his choices as a gay man and his religious background," Maioriello said.

Siebert was accepted by his family, and eventually came to terms with his religion, his friend said.

"He always showed his family a great example of healthy relationships," Maioriello said.

Maioriello said he was amazed by how many people Siebert touched.

"His arms stretched so much wider than I ever imagined," he said.

On the night of his death, Maioriello said, Siebert went dancing with friends at Executive Suite on Pacific Coast Highway. After the nightclub closed, Siebert went driving down Redondo, likely toward Shore House Cafe on Second Street to get a plate of nachos - his favorite way to end an evening out.

"He always drives in his car with music blaring, singing at the top of his lungs," his friend noted.

On that night, Maioriello said, a witness in another vehicle glanced over at Siebert, just before the light turned green. The witness said Siebert had been singing.

Services for Jason Siebert are open to the public and will be held Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.


News Stories

Fresnan killed as bystander in Long Beach police chase
The Fresno Bee
Jason Siebert, a Fresno Christian High School graduate who was active in Southern California theater, was killed Saturday as a bystander in a police chase, his family confirmed this week.
Siebert's mother, Debbie Siebert, is the superintendent of Fresno Christian Schools.

Siebert, 32, was struck by a pickup driven by Cody Brown, 22, of Long Beach, who was fleeing Long Beach police at speeds approaching 100 mph, according to a published report in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Officers told the newspaper that Brown's truck sped through red lights and stop signs, struck Siebert's car at an intersection, then hit a taxi.

Long Beach police arrested Brown on suspicion of manslaughter and reckless and impaired driving, according to the Long Beach newspaper. Long Beach police did not return several calls seeking additional details.

Services for Jason Siebert will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Clovis Hills Community Church.

Grand jury to hear murder case, click here.

Links to other stories, click here.


Mary Shepard, 76
Date of Crash: October 27, 2008

Mary Shepard of Benton, Arkansas, was visiting her daughter and son-in-law

October 27, 2008

The Associated Press
EL SOBRANTE, Calif.—A 76-year-old woman is dead and a parolee back behind bars after a police chase of a stolen pickup truck ended in crash.

Authorities say Richmond officers were in pursuit of the pickup when it rear-ended a car with three people inside Monday.

One of the passengers — Mary Sheppard — of Benton, Ark., was killed in the crash.

Her son-in-law — George Alvarez, and her daughter — Elizabeth — were both hospitalized with moderate injuries.

Officers arrested Jordan Taitano of Antioch after he abandoned the stolen truck and tried to run from the scene.

Authorities say the 34-year-old Taitano had just been released from San Quentin State Prison on parole Thursday.

He was booked suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, carjacking and other charges.

News Stories

From the
Police chased the truck north on San Pablo Avenue — into the city of San Pablo — and then east on San Pablo Dam Road until the truck smashed into the victims' vehicle between Clark and May roads in El Sobrante ...

Connie Qualls, a yard supervisor at nearby Sheldon Elementary School on May Road, saw the wreckage.

"I would describe it as very, very sad and very, very sickening. I feel sorry for the innocent victim and her family," Qualls said. She said of the suspect, "The way our country and our government is going today, they might as well give prisoners a pat on the head and let them go. Our courts are too lenient on these people."
Read more.

Links to other stories, click here.

Martin Padilla, 51
Date of Crash: August 28, 2008
Martin Padilla

Martin Padilla, 51
Pinole, CA

Martin Padilla remembered
as devoted college employee

August 28, 2008, Pinole, CA: "Martin was extremely passionate about what he did," Contra Costa College President McKinley Williams said. "He did so much above and beyond the call of duty and will be remembered as a humble man. He loved serving people."

During the day, Padilla, who held a master's degree in disability rehabilitation services, mentored disabled students, Williams said.

Padilla's widow, Nanette Barce-Padilla, 50, expressed anger that sheriff's deputies hadn't broken off the chase for a known parolee in a stolen car. "If they have a police chase, it's not worth trying to catch the person because it kills innocent people," Barce-Padilla said. "That's not the first time that stuff like this has happened."

News Stories

More about Martin Padilla
In the meantime, the Contra Costa College community is reeling from the sudden loss of someone they've come to know as a mainstay at the campus. "People are in a state of shock," Williams said. "Folks couldn't believe it. Not Martin. Not
to such a nice guy."
click here.

Martin was stickler for safe driving,

Links to other stories, click here.

Cecilia Diaz Vasquez, 32 and Pedro Davila, 40

Date of Crash: July 13, 2008

Walking hand in hand
Couple killed in Hollywood leave behind three children

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Richard Winton
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

July 17, 2008

HOLLYWOOD — After sunset Sunday, an immigrant couple set out down Hollywood Boulevard on foot, headed from work to their nearby apartment.

As they walked hand in hand, a former Marine out drinking with a friend steered his car onto the boulevard. Sergio Delgado, 29, was fleeing police who had tried to stop him for reckless driving.

Cecilia Diaz Vasquez, 32, and Pedro Davila, 40, stepped into the crosswalk at Wilcox Avenue about 8:45 p.m. just as Delgado ran a red light.

In a moment, the couple were dead. It took hours for officials to identify the bodies, and in the days that followed, details have emerged about them and the man charged with killing them.

Davila started the day like many others since he and Vasquez crossed illegally into the U.S. from Mexico a year ago. They came to earn money to support their three children, whom they left with grandparents in their hometown in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

On Sunday morning, Davila walked from his spare studio apartment on Wilcox Avenue to his job at Combo's Pizza & Deli in the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard. He worked his shift cleaning the kitchen and restaurant, owner George Comboianu said.

About 8 p.m., Vasquez met Davila at the pizzeria and they used a cellphone to call their children in Martinez de La Torre.

Davila Vasquez Children
Pedro Davila with the couple's children in Mexico.
The youngsters had been living with his parents in Veracruz.

The children had been excited to hear from their parents, said a relative reached Wednesday in Mexico. Monserrat Arely Davila, 15, Diego Davila, 14, and Guadalupe Davila, 8, often cried for their parents to return home, family members said. Phone calls were rare because of the cost.

The parents and children talked for several minutes Sunday night. The youngsters were excited about a visit their parents had planned for this month. Then the line abruptly failed.

It was 8:27 p.m. The children waited by the phone, hoping for them to call back. But their parents had left the pizzeria to walk home.

Los Angeles police officers saw Delgado about 8:45 p.m. and began following him as he accelerated and ignored several traffic signals. They suspected he was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Delgado, a married father with a young son, was born in Guadalajara and came to California as a child, according to a relative. He was a graduate of John Marshall High School who joined the Marines at 19, his sister said. He was convicted of driving under the influence in 2003 and of illegally driving in a bus lane in 2006.

Delgado, who also uses the name Delgado Valle, had been working at a mortgage brokerage in the San Fernando Valley, according to his sister, who spoke on the condition that she not be identified, saying she had not talked to authorities about the case.

She described Delgado as a military veteran who has suffered from post traumatic stress since serving in Afghanistan. Marine Corps officials, however, said this week that their records show Delgado served as an administrative clerk and they have no record of his being stationed in Afghanistan. Delgado left active duty as a lance corporal in August 2003, military records show.

On Sunday night as police followed him, Delgado slowed at Highland Avenue and Yucca Street to let a passenger, whom police are still seeking, jump out of the car. When Delgado reached Hollywood Boulevard and headed east,

Cecilia and Pedro

Cecilia Diaz Vasquez, 32, and
Pedro Davila, 40, Hollywood

Pedro and Cecilia were not married but considered themselves so, her brother said. They had been together 19 years.

the officers began pursuing him with their lights and siren on, police said. The pursuit lasted about a minute.

At the Wilcox crosswalk, Delgado swerved to the far left, going around vehicles stopped at the light. Vasquez and Davila, still holding hands, were in his path. Authorities said it was unlikely they had time to react.

The car's impact tossed their bodies across the intersection into the opposite crosswalk, police said.

After the crash, Delgado drove on for a block. Then he tried to run away, but bystanders held him down until police arrived, investigators said. He smelled of alcohol, and his blood-alcohol level was "well above the legal limit," said Det. Nelson Hernandez, although no containers of alcohol were recovered from the car.

Delgado was belligerent at the scene, Hernandez said, swearing at police, and he continued to swear and threaten officers even after he was taken to a local hospital.

Identifying Vasquez and Davila took hours. Neither was carrying much with them. Davila had a key chain labeled "Pedro," a CVS pharmacy card and a wallet with a business card that didn't reveal his identity.

Local business owners knew the couple from their cleaning work and helped investigators locate Vasquez's brother. Felix Vasquez, 38, got a call from the coroner's office at 3 a.m. Monday.

Relatives in Mexico said Wednesday that the children were still in shock.

"They just can't believe it happened," said Laura Vasquez Hernandez, 38, a cousin of Vasquez reached in Mexico on Wednesday. "It was so far away that you don't know how to feel, something that far away."

Delgado was charged this week with two counts of murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter with intoxication, and felony fleeing the scene. Authorities said he still had not talked to investigators. He is being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

In Hollywood, Felix Vasquez said he was trying find a way to ship the bodies of his sister and her longtime love back to Mexico, but the paperwork and cost seemed overwhelming.

Neighbors on Wilcox Avenue have raised nearly $150, and local business owners have offered to help.

At his sister's apartment Wednesday, Felix Vasquez said he still thought of her as a baby, when he used to help change her diapers. Around him, a chair in the small room was stacked with new clothes, Valentine's Day cards, shoes and other gifts his sister and Davila had planned to send home.

Now, he said with tears in his eyes, he is worried about their orphaned children. His sister and Davila had just sent $900 to support them last month, but Vasquez said the money would soon run out. Their grandparents in Mexico cannot afford to care for them alone.

Felix Vasquez said his sister and Davila loved living in Hollywood. She kept a photo album full of snapshots -- the two of them in a lush garden; one of him posing next to the Hollywood Boulevard star for Cantinflas, the Mexican comic. But she missed her children.

In a notebook left in the apartment, she wrote about how strange she felt, living in another country where she looked different and didn't know the customs.

"Give me another year to live," Vasquez, a devout Roman Catholic, wrote in Spanish. "Yes, Lord, one year closer to my children."

Times staff writers Francisco Vara-Orta and Tony Perry contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008, printed with permission.


December 2007

A second California police chase for a stolen car
leads to the death of two more innocent victims

San Francisco: Killed in the Dec. 11 crash were innocent bystanders Kristopher Bratt, 20, of Novato, and another man in Bratt's Chevrolet Cavalier, Alfonso Felipe Cortez, 36. Kristopher had been working as a laborer for Redwood Engineering in Tiburon. Authorities were unable to provide a hometown for Alfonso, saying only that he lived in the East Bay. Comment: A driver in a stolen car is a known flight risk. I would not expect the driver to pull over appropriately on a busy street with traffic controlled intersections, and the number of innocent bystanders killed because of chases for stolen cars indicates this to be true. Candy Priano

Innocent bystanders — man and woman — killed in California chase
Modesto: A woman critically injured Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007, in a head-on collision north of Modesto died Dec. 10, becoming the third person killed in the wreck. Heather Miller, 40, of San Leandro died at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, authorities said. She was a passenger in a car that investigators said was hit head-on by a stolen sport utility vehicle whose driver was trying to evade Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies. Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Royjindar Singh released the identities of the two men killed in the crash. They are Steven Jackson, 53, of Modesto, who was driving the car in which Miller was a passenger and Brandon Ellis, 20, of Riverbank, a passenger in the SUV. The men died Sunday of blunt-force trauma, Singh said. The crash was on Claribel Road between Coffee and Oakdale during heavy traffic on Sunday.

July 2007

Officer Douglas "Scott" Russell, 46
Date of crash: July 31, 2007

Douglas Russell

CHP Officer
Douglas "Scott" Russell
, 46

Officer Douglas Russell was struck and killed while deploying a stop sticks to stop a vehicle involved in a pursuit.

The pursuit began after Rancho Cordova police were dispatched at 12:23 pm on a welfare check on a person in a brown, four-door sedan parked on Horn Road in Rancho Cordova. As officers approached, the driver sped off, tossing items out of his vehicle. A police pursuit ensued, going onto eastbound Highway 50.

Officer Russell was deploying the spike strip when the car swerved and hit him. He was airlifted to University of California Davis Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.

After striking the officer, the vehicle continued until officers were able to spin the car and stop it on Missouri Flat Road. The driver was taken into custody and transported to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

The 22-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol worked out of the Placerville office. He is survived by his wife and mother.

Suspect had fled before

The suspect was jailed in '92 for fleeing cops and fled again in December 5, 2006.

More stories on CHP Officer Douglas "Scott" Russell.



June 2007

Miguel Castro Falcon, father of three, killed June 27, 2007

Los Angeles Sheriff's department chased suspects in a stolen car.

Los Angeles Sheriff's department policy does not allow chases for stolen car offences.


April 2007

Edgar Garcia Torres, 22, San Francisco, April 19

John Avery, 57, San Francisco, April 16

Steven Aveles, 20
Date of Crash: April 15, 2007

A burglary in Yucaipa turned into a highway chase that caused the death of an innocent Upland man early Sunday morning. The Yucaipa Sheriff Station responded to the burglary and were in pursuit of a driver of a 2007 Dodge Charger who was fleeing the scene of an attempted burglary. The chase began on surface streets at 12th Street and Avenue D in Yucaipa and ended on Interstate 10 at Ford Street. The Charger, which had entered the freeway headed west in the eastbound lanes, crashed head-on into a 1999 Honda Civic killing 20-year-old Steven Aveles of Upland, a passenger in the Honda, and critically injuring the driver, whose name was withheld. The driver of the Civic, a 20-year-old La Puente man, was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Daniel Dawson, 36
Date of Crash: April 7, 2007
Daniel Dawson

Daniel Dawson, 36
Bakersfield, CA

Police chase ends in pileup; bystander killed, click here.

Police said the man who hit Dawson—Brian Marling—is a known gang member and when police tried to issue a search warrant at his home, Marling fled.

Daniel Dawson was hit and killed while waiting at a stop light.

Daniel Dawson Family

Daniel Dawson and family; wife, Rhonda Dawson; and boys, Andrew, 11, left, and Jordan, 9.

News Stories

Family mourns death of family man killed in police pursuit, (Story no longer available)

"I miss his laugh and he was an incredible singer," said Paul Reed, Dawson's brother-in-law, "and I miss that. I heard a church song this morning that he sang, and I could hear him singing it. I will always miss that."

Links to other stories, click here.

February 2007
Monica Lucky, 41, resides in Stockton, February 11, 2007

Acting Oakland PD Traffic Sergeant Vincent Fratangelo said, "No. No chase was involved in this one." Yet, witness Amy Badore said, "
I saw a police car following with its sirens and lights on."

Brandon Louis Harper
Date of crash: January 20, 2007

Brandon Harper,
26, Santa Maria
Brandon Louis Harper was on his way to get a Jumbo Jack at 10:00 p.m., when a 20-year-old boy being pursued by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department, hit Brandon's car at 87 miles an hour. t the Sheriffs were pursuing the 20-year-old on two of the busiest streets in our city brought me to a new awareness about the tragedy that surrounds high speed pursuits.

Santa Barbara Sheriff's officers were pursuing the 20-year-old suspected DUI
on two of the busiest street in Santa Maria.



November 2006

Rosanna Garcia,
20, Whittier, Nov. 25

October 2006

Kathryn "Katy" Bogosian-Langley, 25
, Paradise, Oct. 26
Paradise/Magalia—Kathryn, an innocent victim of pursuit, leaves behind a 4-year-old son and loving husband.
The driver who fled was in-and-out of our courts and jails too many times. Our criminal justice system failed the Bogosian-Langley family. And, Katie was not protected when the chase began for a known suspect who had said, "I will do anything to avoid going back to prison." Did the officers really believe this suspect would pull over appropriately on a busy street? -- Candy Priano

September 2006

Rodrigo Vega, 38, Carlsbad, Sept. 5

Uninvolved motorist killed in police pursuit
North County Times,?A? September 6, 2006
CARLSBAD—A San Marcos man was thrown from his pickup and suffered fatal injuries when the vehicle was hit by a suspected car thief who was believed to be ...

Police pursuit ends in death of bystander
San Diego Union Tribune - September 5, 2006
CARLSBAD—A San Marcos man was killed Tuesday morning when a car being pursued by police smashed into the side of his pickup truck and knocked him from the ...

Quadriplegic sues SFPD over injuries
San Francisco Chronicle: The complaint also says that SFPD conspired to omit their involvement in the collision report.

July 2006

Officer Nick Birco,
a five-year department veteran who worked at the Bayview station -
July 26 , 2006

San Francisco Police Officer Killed In chase
CBS 5 - San Francisco - July 26, 2006
A San Francisco police officer died early this morning after a vehicle collision during a police chase, ... The identity of the officer is being withheld pending notification of his family. He worked at Bayview station.

The Officer Down Memorial Page Remembers . . . Officer Nick Birco

Date of Crash: June 30, 2006; Date of Death: July 2, 2006

Halley Simone Lee, 9 months old

Precious, little Halley Simone Lee died, after suffering massive brain injuries June 30, 2006, when her mother's car was hit by a vehicle whose driver was being pursued for a suspected DUI by Alameda County Sheriff's deputies.


Baby seriously injured after high speed chase
San Francisco Chronicle; July 1, 2006
Hayward — A 9-month-old girl is in critical condition this morning after a man allegedly running from Alameda County Sheriff's deputies ...

Infant In Crash Brain Dead

July 3 - BCN - A 9-month-old Hayward girl who was critically injured Friday night in a car crash in Hayward was pronounced brain dead at 4 p.m. Sunday at Oakland Children's Hospital, according to Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek.

The infant, Halley Simone Lee, is being kept alive at the hospital with the help of machines. Lee's family has not decided whether they will keep the girl attached to the machines, Dudek said.

Niven Singh, the man who allegedly hit the car Lee was in while fleeing from Alameda County sheriff's deputies, was arraigned today in Alameda County Superior Court on murder and other charges.

May 2006

Salvador Nieves Jr., 21 (below, left), May 27, 2006
Jessica Castaneda-Rodriguez, 25, May 27, 2006

Undercurrents: Two More Innocent Bystanders Die in High Speed Chase
Berkeley Daily Planet, by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor — June 2, 2006
Commentary: Reporter J. Douglas Allen-Taylor does his job, and he does it very well. Here we go again; looks like there's a mandate to keep the numbers low for innocent victims of pursuit in California.

From Allen-Taylor's column: ... Reporting on the first court appearance of 33-year-old Oakland resident Amiri Bolten, Oakland Tribune staff members Harry Harris and Kristin Bender write in Thursday's paper that "Bolten's 1988 Chevrolet van . . . first attracted the attention of police near the intersection of 73rd and Ney avenues about 9:20 p.m. Saturday because it was blaring loud music. Officers stopped the van and while walking up to it smelled marijuana inside, said Traffic Officer Jeff Thomason."

Thomason, it should be noted, was not one of the officers involved in the incident; he's just the one who talked with the reporters. The Tribune account goes on to say that after the officers walked up to the van "without warning, the van sped off and officers pursued it, radioing to other officers and supervisors that they were in a chase." According to the Tribune account, Bolten sped up 73rd Avenue to MacArthur with the police following some blocks behind, turned right, and then roared through a red light at 90th and MacArthur, hitting a Nissan Sentra driven by 25-year-old Jessica Castaneda-Rodriguez of Oakland. Castaneda-Rodriguez was killed in the crash, along with a passenger, 21-year-old Salvador Nieves Jr., also of Oakland. A second passenger, a 24-year-old San Leandro woman, was hospitalized in critical condition.

The Thursday Tribune report said that Bolten was captured trying to run away from the accident scene, and that officers "found marijuana in the van." The paper reported that Bolten has been charged by the Alameda County District Attorney's office with "vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, one count of evading police causing injury or death, hit and run, and a parole violation."

But not DUI or possession of marijuana? Even though that was the underlying offense which was supposed to have triggered the pursuit in the first place? An interesting omission, but perhaps that was an oversight, either by the DA's office, or by the reporters, to be corrected as we go on.

In any event, the Harris-Bender Thursday morning Tribune account of the chase and accident were slightly different from those printed in the Tribune on the previous Monday, this one attributed to Tribune "staff reports."

In the Monday story, the Tribune said that "Strategic Area Command officers were in the vicinity of 73rd and Ney avenues about 9:20 p.m. Saturday when they saw a full-size 1988 Chevrolet van involved in "sideshow activities, which can include reckless driving, people hanging out of car doors and doing donuts in the street."

This is an interesting way to characterize the initial circumstances, don't you think? The Tribune "staff reporters" don't actually say that the Chevrolet van was doing "reckless driving [with] people hanging out of car doors and doing 'donuts' in the street." In fact, it doesn't even say that such activity was going on in the vicinity at the time the police stopped the Chevrolet van. Why, then, one wonders, did the Tribune include the reckless driving, etc., in the original story? Was it actually going on at the time at 73rd and Ney, or did they just add it, for "color"? Perhaps the good folks at the Tribune will someday explain.

Three other items are notable in the original Tribune story. The article says that "police said Bolten appeared under the influence of alcohol while driving," but does not mention any marijuana. It also says that "the names of the officers chasing Bolten were not released," although it doesn't say why this should be.

Why is the marijuana important to this story, both its absence in the original Tribune account, and its addition later?

Without the "smell of marijuana" from Bolten's van, what we are left with is Strategic Area Command officers riding through what the Oakland Police Department officially calls the "sideshow zone," stopping a car because of "blaring loud music," and then chasing it after the driver ran away. If this was the case, then two innocent young people are dead and another is in critical condition in the hospital because the City of Oakland has decided that "blaring loud music" is a serious offense. At least, it is in the sideshow zones of East Oakland. ...

April 7, 2006

Lisa Rosas

Innocent Lisa Rosas, 17, died and her passenger, 22-month-old Katrina Martinez, is being treated at a Madera hospital. Little Katrina is paralyzed as a result of neck and spinal cord injuries.

No pursuit probe planned
The Bakersfield Californian - By Gretchen Wenner - April 10, 2006
Bakersfield's police chief said Monday the department won't formally investigate whether officers appropriately followed pursuit policies last Friday, when a high-speed chase led to the death of a 17-year-old girl and seriously injured a toddler -- both uninvolved.
Commentary: It is so shocking that California's State Law denies innocent victims of pursuit and their families the right to discovery in a Court of Law, so families can find out whether or not the officers involved the chase followed their pursuit policy. Add to this, innocent victims are also denied independent reviews of these deadly chases. In California, if there is a review, typically the review board is made up entirely of members of law enforcement, and in some cases, members from the same L.E. agency involved in the pursuit review these chases. So, there is no outside review.

Family mourns teen's death in police chase
The Bakersfield Californian - By Gretchen Wenner and Tim Kupsick - April 8, 2006
You may be required to register to read the full story at the above link. Registration is very easy.

From the above story: "It just couldn't be my baby," Ana Robledo thought Friday night. But she saw the car: her daughter's Geo Prism, which moments earlier had been hit by a fleeing suspect and a police car during a high-speed chase in east Bakersfield.

The pursuit through a residential area that led to the death of an innocent bystander in another car was within departmental policy and won't be investigated, a Bakersfield police spokesman said Saturday.

Robledo's 17-year-old daughter, Lisa A. Rosas, a senior at Foothill High School, was killed Friday when a man driving a stolen Chevrolet Suburban crashed into her Geo Prism head-on.

"I just don't understand why they didn't let him go," she said, referring to the man in the stolen Suburban, which was equipped with a satellite tracking system. "I just want to know the truth about what happened, because there are so many stories."

Cleora Chrisman, 67, Oakland - April 12, 2006

Google Cleora Chrisman

Victims not identified in fatal Oakland police chase
The - Bay City News Service - April 8, 2006

From the above story: The Escalade she allegedly drove was reported stolen, Rullamas said. He said his division would pass the car's information on to the robbery division to see if it matches with the suspect vehicle in Thursday's robberies. `It certainly matched the appearance,'' he said.

The dead woman has been identified, Rullamas said, but her next of kin has not yet been located. She is a 67-year-old woman from Oakland.

Rullamas said he does not yet know what charges the suspect will face. `I'm going to meet with the DA's office Monday and see what, exactly, they would be interested in charging her with,'' he said. He said he is not intimately familiar with her condition, and that there is a chance she may not survive.

Two Hurt After Oakland High-Speed Chase - San Francisco, CA - April 7, 2006
At least two people are seriously hurt after a high-speed pursuit in Oakland. Police were chasing the driver of a black ... Police have not said what sparked the police chase.


March 2006

Crash During Pursuit Kills Unborn Child

A Long Beach woman's unborn child was killed and she was critically injured Thursday when a man fleeing police crashed into the car in which she was riding in Garden Grove. Sully Portillo, 22, who was seven months' pregnant, was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange with trauma to the chest area and knee. Her 22-year-old fiance, Anthony Moore, who was also taken there, was stable with injuries to the wrist, knee and abdomen.

February 2006

Asatur Tokatlyan, 42, Los Angeles, Feb. 23
Asatur died en route to the hospital, said Kevin Maiberger of the Los Angeles Police
Department. Tokatlyan lived in Hollywood with his wife and two children.

January 2006

Dateline January 14, 2006:
Two chases = 4 more innocent victims of pursuit killed in California since the New Year.

With these two pursuit crashes and other chases where the fleeing suspects were killed, January's reported death total is 7 (Source: Google Alert news stories). Note: The Kristie's Law Web site lists the names of innocent victims of pursuit and the names of officers killed in pursuits.

The three news stories between these lines cover the same chase

Suspect charged in traffic deaths
OCRegister - Orange County, CA January 18, 2006
An Anaheim man suspected of leading police on a car chase that ended in the deaths of three people was charged with murder Tuesday.

A quote from the above story: "... suspected of leading police on a car chase..."Raises a red flag about what law enforcement agencies don't tell the media. Either it was a police chase or it was not a police chase. Keep in mind that police vehicular pursuits begin well before the actual physical chase. It begins before officers "light up" a suspect. That's when officers need to determine whether or not they will chase a suspect, if the driver does not pull over appropriately.

From police pursuit expert, Dr. Geoffrey Alpert: Officers need to ask
the following three questions before they attempt to pull over anyone:

  1. If the pursuit were to result in injury or death, would a reasonable person understand why the pursuit occurred or was necessary?
  2. Is the need to immediately catch the suspect more important than the risk created by the pursuit?
  3. Do the dangers created by the pursuit exceed the dangers posed by letting the perpetrator escape?

On a statewide level, this story about the deaths of three innocent victims, along with the lack of media coverage of the 3-year-old boy who was?illed in a Pasadena pursuit in December, concerns me because pursuit deaths are already under-reported, which means not all fatalities by pursuit are reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is important to share this new information about these recent chases. My fear is that deaths to innocent victims of pursuit will be summarily dismissed as traffic "accidents" in an attempt by law enforcement officials to keep the fatalities resulting from pursuit crashes low.?

Three Dead, Two Hurt After Police Chase - Los Angeles, CA January 14, 2006
ANAHEIM - A van driven by a man fleeing police collided with a Toyota Camry in Anaheim, killing three
of the car's occupants and injuring two others ... The innocent were identified as Anaheim residents Guadalupe Ramirez, 39, Francisco Martinez, 20, Francisco Aguilar-Brito, 20; the suspect ran a red light and was being chased because he was a suspect for a petty theft at a bar ...

2 reported killed after police pursuit
OCRegister - Orange County, CA January 14, 2006
... A Fullerton officer began the pursuit about 10:30 pm when he spotted a van run a red light near Euclid Street and Orangethorpe Avenue, a police spokesman said. ...

One Dead in San Gabriel Valley Police Chase - Los Angeles,CA, January 13, 2006
ARCADIA - A 16-year-old boy led police on a chase in a stolen car that ended in Arcadia when the stolen vehicle collided another car, killing its driver and ...

December 2005
Fallen CHP Officer Erick Manny, click here and


December 11, 2005

Talmin Moye, Jr., 3, Pasadena

L.A. Times: Arcadia Police Lt. Ken Harper says, "It was over by the time it started."

It has just begun for the family of Talmin Moye, Jr.

Talmin was a passenger in his dad's car. They were heading for some yummy treats, a pancake breakfast.

The reason for this chase: A stolen car.




Commentary: Innocent victims of pursuit often hear law enforcement's public relations officials saying the pursuit was not that long ... or the chase was not a high-speed pursuit. But we (family members of innocent victims) know the pursuit was long enough and at a speed high enough to kill and permanently injure our innocent loved ones.

Regarding the pursuit that resulted in Talmin's death, officers had identified the car as stolen BEFORE they got to the scene. When they arrived, they saw the woman in the car. Did officers really think someone in a stolen car would do the right thing? Were marked or unmarked cars sent to the scene? When someone reports suspicious activity, some police departments (Source: Protect and Serve) will send unmarked cars -- not to use for pursuit -- but to observe the suspect. In this case, officers in unmarked cars could have truly followed the suspect without her knowledge until she was no longer behind the wheel of a car and then the officers could have made their arrest. Read: Weak Argument


Innocent victim is identified as Roy White, 61, U.S. Highway 101, north of the John Daly exit in the Bay area. SF Chronicle report and The San Mateo Daily Journal

Both chases that killed civilians continued because the suspects were driving stolen vehicles.
Kristie's Law would have saved these innocent lives.
Kristie's Law does not allow chases for property crimes.

More innocent victims killed and injured in California pursuits

Study California's Pursuit Practices

Interview with John Walsh
Complete Transcript of the Show
Aired December 23, 2002

Walsh: ... Some states' victims have rights and some states' victims have no rights at the at all. I'll tell you what, the U.S. Constitution's been amended 27 times. Four for the criminals' rights. That's OK. They should have their rights. But nothing has ever been put in the Constitution or the Constitution has never been amended for victims' rights. ...

KING: A couple of other quick things. What do you make of the new police chief in L.A. stopping these high-speed police chases?

WALSH: You know, I know Chief Bratton, and he did a great job here in New York City. He's just the guy for the job in Los Angeles. You know, I think two things. First of all, the media covers these police chases way too much. It really spurs up other jerks to get high or drunk and go out there and try to outrun the police. Innocent people get killed. I think there is better ways to do it. Chief Bratton is going to do that. You call ahead to other jurisdictions, you put the nails across the street. You know, innocent people get killed in these police chases, and I'll tell you what, I think the media has a responsibility. Sure, it makes great TV, but it spurs these other creeps to try to do the same thing.



March 22, 2007

Jacob "Jake" Brock, 19, Eagle

Jennifer Kois, 19, Eagle

Suspect in fatal chase is former police officer. Officers chased the suspect for a suspected DUI.

These two teens are just the cutest couple, click here.

January 4, 2006

Monica Ortiz talks about the death of her unborn baby boy, January 4, 2006

Victim In Chase, Crash Talks About Losing Baby
Ortiz said that the pain of the loss of her boy is intolerable. She also said she thinks police should have been more cautious in their pursuit of a stolen car.

"I think that he shouldn't have been doing what he was doing and I don't think the police should have been chasing him either," Ortiz said. "I think that if they weren't chasing him I wouldn't have gotten hit."

Kristie's Law does not allow chases for property crimes.

Study Colorado's Pursuit Practices



The National Highway Traffic Administration reported six fatalities involving police in pursuit in 2006.
Two were innocent bystanders in another vehicle.



April 2006
Man, 22, charged with murder after crash during police chase
New Castle man killed in fiery collision, update
Commentary: All fleeing suspects who kill an innocent person or officer need to be charged with murder.
Erie Dobson, 40, New Castle, April 8 - April 9, 2006

Reason for the chase: A Newport police officer was pursuing McKinley, whose license had been suspended for 30 days, about 11:15 p.m. Saturday when McKinley's car struck a Jeep Cherokee at the intersection of Del. 141 and Del. 273.

From the above story: Dead is 40-year-old Erie Dobson, father of two, of New Castle on his way home from a job at Home Depot.

Jason McKinley was fleeing police. He was first spotted driving recklessly along Route 4 in Newport. Police say they tried to stop McKinley's car. McKinley allegedly shot through a residential area and then south of Route 141, outrunning officers. He only stopped when he slammed into Dobson's Jeep.

The Chief says the pursuing officer lost site of the Honda prior to the accident, he says, effectively ending the chase.

Commentary: The Chief's statement may be true, but so often the code of silence prevents the public from knowing for sure. When innocent victims of pursuit are killed, law enforcement spokespersons routinely take this route. This Chief's comments are so familiar. Most of us do not have or receive the facts about these police chases, so every time an innocent person is killed, law enforcement can say to the media and through them to us, these statements:

  • "The pursuit just got started or the chase just ended."
  • "We were not chasing; we were 'following' or trying to 'catch up' to the suspect."
  • "The pursuit was not high-speed."
  • "We were not chasing period."

Family members of innocent victims know the pursuit was long enough and at a speed high enough to kill and permanently injure their innocent loved ones.)

I believe that if the suspect had crashed into a tree and was apprehended by the officers who were chasing him, the chief would not have said, "the pursuing officer lost site of the Honda prior to the accident, he says, effectively ending the chase.




July 2006
Kenneth Roger Gadd, 55, Lakeland, July 17, 2006.
Lakeland Police Officers chased a suspect in a stolen truck.

Allison "Allie" Joy Angerman
Date of crash: June 30, 2006, Died July 1, 2006
Allison Angerman

Allison Joy Angerman, 20
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
A drunken driver fleeing police killed Allison.
March 2006
Pamela Corsen, 59, March 31, 2006

January 2006
Edwin Alvarado, Jan. 23, 2006 9
Questions surround fatal crash, possible police chase. One uninvolved driver, Edwin Alvarado, died in the crash and six others were injured, including a 2-year-old
CBS News: October 31, 2005
Police chases kill ...
And one-third are innocent bystanders.
Jim Phillips' innocent daughter Sarah was killed ...
Study Florida's Pursuit Practices






Margaret Branton

Margaret Branton, 63

A chase for a shoplifter killed two innocent people and an unborn baby. Margaret and her son Lonnie Turner, 37, were killed instantly. Lonnie's wife was injured and their unborn baby died.

Grashunda "Shunda" Banks, 22
July 23, 2000

Shunda Banks

The chase began when a Hampton City officer observed a driver playing loud music and chased the driver for a suspected traffic violation. The driver hit the car driven by Shunda, a senior at Georgia State University, who had plans to become a kindergarten teacher.

Two people die in collision

ATLANTA - A man fleeing police drove the wrong way down a metro Atlanta highway early Sunday and struck another vehicle, killing himself and another driver.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was driving a Dodge Neon without using his lights at speeds approaching 100 mph when he collided with a Ford Explorer in Henry County near the Atlanta Motor Speedway at about 12:15 a.m., Hampton police Sgt. Choya Barber said.

Georgia State Patrol spokesman Jim Shuler identified the driver of the Explorer as Grashunda Banks, 22, of Barnesville. Her passengers, Kinsey Jones, 22, of Atlanta, and Kimmarchello Shanrnon, 22, of Barnesville, were taken by helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center.

Sgt. Barber said a chase began when an officer spotted the driver of the Neon speeding southbound on Georgia Highway 41 shortly after midnight. The driver pulled over, but when the officer began to get out of his car, he made a U-turn and sped away.

The officer attempted to pursue him from the northbound lane but got caught in traffic, Sgt. Barber said.


Joanna Ringer

February 7, 2008

Sgt. Joanna Ringer, 21

COLUMBUS, Georgia -- A Fort Benning soldier, who was killed in a crash, is being remembered by her fellow soldiers.

Investigators say 21 year-old Joanna Ringer died, after her car was hit by a suspect, who was fleeing police.

The suspect, 17 year-old Stayce Walker is facing a laundry list of charges, stemming from Thursday's police chase and crash on Victory Drive.

The chase began when officers say they spotted Walker in a stolen red pickup truck at Wilson Apartments.

Investigators say Walker took off, leading police to the intersection of Fort Benning Road and Victory Drive, where Chief Ricky Boren says officers called off the chase.

But Walker didn't stop, as police say he drove the wrong way on Victory Drive, crashing into a silver car.

Ringer was killed in the wreck. The Fort Benning sergeant had been assigned to the Conus Replacement Center since October 2005.

A friend of Ringer's says she, "a beautiful person, and will be missed by everyone who had ever met her."


June 27, 2007

Billy Klewitz, 21, Albany, Georgia

ViewPoint: Police chases can be deadly
July 2, 2007

On Wednesday 21-year-old Billy Klewitz likely did what he often did, played video games, played guitar, talked to his friends and listened to rock music.

That night he headed out to pick up his sister. Billy was living his normal life doing what he was supposed to do.

Billy didn't know that a few miles away an attempted police arrest was going badly.

He didn't know that 32-year-old Bobby Jones decided to race away from police.

Billy didn't know the chase was headed head on to him.

Billy's normal life ended before he could pick up his sister.

Bobby Jones life ended before he could get away from police.

Those left behind try to make sense of what happened and lay blame.

There is no doubt that Bobby Jones was not doing what he was supposed to do and that he was at fault for this head on collision.

But now we ask, what about the police. Did they do it right?

We agree that we want to police to arrest the law breakers. And police can't just let everyone go who drives away.

But in this case, should they have backed off and picked up Bobby Jones some other time.

We don't know what may have happened if the police had let Bobby Jones go without a chase. Maybe someone else would be hurt or killed.

But we do know is Billy Klewitz was killed when Bobby Jones was chased. We call on our government leaders to examine closely the chase policy and do everything they can to avoid another deadly police chase.


ViewPoint: Police chases can be deadly
July 2, 2007

On Wednesday 21-year-old Billy Klewitz likely did what he often did, played video games, played guitar, talked to his friends and listened to rock music.

That night he headed out to pick up his sister. Billy was living his normal life doing what he was supposed to do.

Billy didn't know that a few miles away an attempted police arrest was going badly.

He didn't know that 32-year-old Bobby Jones decided to race away from police.

Billy didn't know the chase was headed head on to him.

Billy's normal life ended before he could pick up his sister.

Bobby Jones life ended before he could get away from police.

Those left behind try to make sense of what happened and lay blame.

There is no doubt that Bobby Jones was not doing what he was supposed to do and that he was at fault for this head on collision.

But now we ask, what about the police. Did they do it right?

We agree that we want to police to arrest the law breakers. And police can't just let everyone go who drives away.

But in this case, should they have backed off and picked up Bobby Jones some other time.

We don't know what may have happened if the police had let Bobby Jones go without a chase. Maybe someone else would be hurt or killed.

But we do know is Billy Klewitz was killed when Bobby Jones was chased. We call on our government leaders to examine closely the chase policy and do everything they can to avoid another deadly police chase.






January 2007

Cousins Michelle Benevedes (left), 39, and Racquel Akau, 38, Waimanalo, Jan. 20

A growing memorial for victims

Deadly combination: DWI and Police Chase

Two Killed in Waimanalo Crash

Waimanalo crash victims identified; youth arrested
Honolulu Advertiser

Controversy as families mourn

Some witnesses reported hearing sirens and seeing flashing blue lights shortly before the accident.

Several neighbors reported that the SUV was being chased by police down Kalaniana'ole Highway in the Hawaii Kai direction. However, police said today there was no pursuit prior to the accident.

Residents said they saw as many as three police cars on the scene almost immediately.

HPD Denies Police Pursuit Caused Deadly Crash

Witnesses believe police were chasing a SUV on Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo before it crashed, killing two women. On Monday, HPD responded to the witness accounts.





Kyle Athay, 28, Bennington

Safety — key concern for police regarding high-speed chases
Idaho State Journal Editorial — May 25, 2006

Cases locally and nationwide of innocent bystanders being killed or seriously injured by crashes related to police chases have garnered much attention lately.

Law enforcers, as a result, have been forced to consider the ramifications of turning on their flashing lights and barreling down the road after a bad guy.

The good guys now know that hot pursuits can have utterly tragic consequences for themselves and others.

Just ask Kyle Athay of Bennington, a cowboy and heavy equipment operator who is now paralyzed as a result of being struck by a car fleeing police in 1999.

Then there's Ueland Redwoman, 29, and Theora Pondo-Galloway, 51, both of Fort Hall and both now dead ...





January 2003

Qing Chang, 25, Chicago, Jan. 2, 2003

Crain's Chicago Business: Chicago taps brakes on cop car chases May 29, 2004

The loss of Qing Chang, her child, and the potential of their lives cannot be underestimated and/or justified. While the police should not be held accountable for initiating the event that led to the death of Qing Change and her child, the police must nevertheless account for their actions in making the decision to pursue.
(Read Dr. Jurkanin's full comment right here.)

Thomas J. Jurkanin, PhD
Executive Director
Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board



Keahn Hill, 2
Date of Crash: October 21, 2008

3 dead after NW Indiana domestic crime spree and fatal crash

Keahn Hill, 2
Portage, Indiana
Keahn Hill

Three killed in stabbing, police chase, crash

October 21, 2008
Portage, Indiana—
A 2-year-old boy is among three killed in a series of events in Northwest Indiana early Tuesday.

A woman’s ex-boyfriend stabbed her male friend to death, then crashed a vehicle into a squad car, killing himself and his 2-year-old son, police said.

The incident began unfolding early Tuesday when police were dispatched to an apartment in Portage, Ind., where a 29-year-old man, indentified as Dennis Williams, had apparently been stabbed to death by his roommate’s ex-boyfriend.

Sonya Hill, 21, who lived in the home told police that Williams was her friend and that while she and the victim were inside the apartment, they heard the door buzzer ringing. When they went to investigate, her ex-boyfriend came barging through the sliding glass patio doors.

Hill told police that she and her ex-boyfriend, Lawrence Hill, began arguing about their 2-year-old son, Keahn Hill, who was inside the apartment sleeping, and the ex-boyfriend held a knife to her throat while leading her out of the apartment. At that point, Williams tried to intervene and was stabbed to death by the ex-boyfriend, police said in the release.

Lawrence Hill then fled the scene of the murder and Sonya Hill later discovered that he had taken their son with him. She notified police and a broadcast was dispatched to local police departments regarding the murder and kidnapping.

At about 1:30 a.m., a police officer from Beverly Shores, Ind., spotted the wanted vehicle eastbound on U.S. Rt. 12 in Beverly Shores. The officer began to chase the vehicle, which headed towards Rt. 20 and continued westbound. Stop Sticks, used by police in setting up roadblocks, were placed on Rt. 20 in Porter, but the suspect drove through them.

Keahn Hill was on his father's lap as he approached a second set of Stop Sticks. This time the suspect accelerated and slammed his vehicle head-on into a police vehicle stopped at the location. The sheriff’s deputy was not in his vehicle at the time and was not injured, but the Lawrence and Keahn Hill were both dead at the scene, according to the release.

News Stories

Links to other stories, click here.

NBC video: 2 year old among the dead in NW Indiana crime spree, click here.

WGN video: Interview with Mom and police, click here.

Candy Priano's comment: A beautiful baby, Keahn Hill, was killed. Keahn's father and mother were not married. The father, with the baby sitting on his lap, intentionally slammed the car he was driving into an unoccupied police car after officers deployed stop sticks to set up a road block. The father had just killed the boyfriend of the child's mother and, from his own actions, apparently intended to kill himself and his son. He succeeded. As the executive director of PursuitSAFETY, I do not see blame on the part of the police as some bloggers have stated. However, this scenario is one reason why I don't support chases for domestic violence (and yes, I know the father killed the mother's boyfriend). This tragedy became a no-win situation for the mother, boyfriend, Keahn, and the police.


January 2007

Cornell Yancey. 44, Gary, January 29, 2007

July 2006

Kirk John Mitchell, 42, Valparaiso
The Times -

Drunken drivers still terrorize our roadways
The issue: Drunk driving
Our opinion: We need to toughen our laws and make drunk driving socially unacceptable
Aug. 2, 2006

Stop the madness
The issue: High speed police pursuits
Our opinion: The risk is too high and tough limits on chases are a must.
Aug. 1, 2006

Reports: Driver in fatal crash drunk
The weekend death of a motorcyclist who was hit by a car allegedly fleeing Merrillville police should prompt law enforcement officials to revisit their chase policies, the mother of a 2003 crash victim said Monday. Preliminary Lake County accident re...
Aug. 1, 2006

Police pursuit results in wreck, death
MERRILLVILLE | A Valparaiso man died early Sunday when his motorcycle was struck by a car that a witness said appeared to be fleeing Merrillville police at high speed. Kirk John Mitchell, 42, of the 3900 block of East Engel Drive, died of blunt for...
Jul. 31, 2006

Family, friends reflect on Kirk Mitchell
Friends and family of Kirk John Mitchell remember him as a great father and hard worker who had a passion for photography. Mitchell, 42, pre-press manager for The Times, was killed early Sunday morning when his motorcycle was struck by a car in Merri...
Jul. 31, 2006

Merrillville police officers attempted to make a traffic stop of an alleged drunken driver.
The Post -Tribune - August 1, 2006 - Story no longer available

Injured: Naylon Thompson Jr., 4, Fort Wayne, critical condition, and 19-month-old brother, Nicholas, suffered minor injuries.

Editorial: Tragic police chase
The Journal Gazette - Fort Wayne - March 29, 2006
Given the Fort Wayne Police Department's history of automobile chases, it was only a matter of time before an innocent motorist or passenger was hurt. Sadly, a 4-year-old boy paid the price Monday.

Study Indiana's Pursuit Practices



December 2005

Teresa Fagen, 15, dies in crash as police chase man
(Link no longer available) - Des Moines,IA,USA
By SARAH CLARK. A driver being chased by police in rural Perry hit and killed a 15-year-old Perry High School freshman girl Friday night, officials said. ...

Crash renews chase debate (Link no longer available)
Brickner said his department is conducting an internal review of the pursuit, as it has done for at least three other chases in the last year.

Commentary: Investigations of police vehicular pursuits must not only be an internal review by the agency whose officer was involved in the chase, it must also be impartial, made up of officers from another law enforcement agency and citizens who have knowledge about vehicular pursuits. This type of review would protect the officers and the public. It also might provide some valuable insight to prevent future tragedies. -- Candy Priano, posted 2/8/2005



May 20, 2007

Kristin Lynn Saragusa, 38, mother of two.

Too many chases harm the innocent

Kristin Saragusa had nothing to do with Charles Barker. She was a 38-year-old mother of two and a valued physician's assistant. He was a 23-year-old felon with a cocaine conviction on his record, guns in his car and a Kansas Highway Patrol cruiser on his tail.

Their paths collided in Wyandotte County the afternoon of May 20. For Saragusa, a passenger in her boyfriend's car, the impact was fatal.




The National Highway Traffic Administration reported three fatalities involving police in pursuit in 2006.
One was an innocent bystander in another vehicle.





August 5 , 2007
Port Barre Police Chief David Richard lost control of his vehicle before he could become involved in the pursuit. Richard's vehicle ran off the road and slammed into trees, ejecting him from the car. The Daily Advertiser reports that "it was unclear what sparked the chase that led to Richard's death.
The Daily Advertiser - Lafayette, LA - August 6, 2007

March 28, 2006
Nieves Montenegro came to America with the dream of a better life for his family.
KPLCTV.COM - Lake Charles, LA - March 28, 2006



The National Highway Traffic Administration reported six fatalities involving police in pursuit in 2005.
Five were innocent bystanders in another vehicle.



August 23, 2007
John Andrews, 71, Centreville, August 23, 2007

Vice Principal of Queen Anne's County High School was killed when his car was hit by a driver in a stolen SUV trying to elude police.

John Andrews has left his footprints

April 2007

Officer Luke Hoffman, 24, Montgomery County, April 25; died April 26

Officer Luke Hoffman was struck about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday by a cruiser driven by Officer Stephen J. Wofsey. Hoffman had been chasing a suspected drunk driver, who abandoned his vehicle and was fleeing on foot, police said. Wofsey was driving to the scene to help in the pursuit.



May 27 , 2007

One Crash = Three Blameless Victims in Massachusetts

Paul Farris, 23, Killed
Katelyn Hoyt, Critically Injured
Walid Chahine, 45, Critically Injured, died June 3

Tragedy in Massachusetts



July 15, 2007

Anthony S. Quasarano, 46, Romulus

Chase ends in tragedy

Michigan Avenue chase ends in tragedy

Victim's Friends, Family Fill Courtroom, an excerpt from this story:

"Tony Q" was a big man -- 6 feet 3 inches tall, 280 pounds -- and well known in the 1,200-member Motor City HOG motorcycle club. He taught beginners how to handle road-cruising motorcycles.

A 300-motorcycle procession after his funeral on Friday included representatives from 28 motorcycle clubs and six police departments. They escorted Quasarano's family carrying his ashes to their Huron Township home. He is survived by a daughter, Samantha Quasarano, 20, and two sons, Joshua Cox, 27, and Arron Cox, 26.

A Canton police officer saw a Camaro matching the description of an earlier hit-and-run. The Camaro was in a gas station parking lot, touching off a brief chase with its driver.

Commentary: The driver is to blame, but this chase begs the question: Did the officer really expect this driver would pull over appropriately.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy states, "This is a disturbing case where an innocent motorcycle driver was killed in a car crash by a person who failed to recognize a car is a lethal weapon."

Worthy provides an excuse: "failed to recognize." I don't buy it. Drivers who flee can no longer use that excuse. And law enforcement needs to figure out another way to catch these types of suspects to save innocent lives and the lives of our police officers.


November 2006

Brent Berry, 23, Nov. 10, 2006
Derrick Flowers, 27, Nov. 10, 2006
Eugene Pierce, 25, Nov. 10, 2

January 2006

Wife's first thoughts
Detroit Free Press January 24, 2006

David Jones, 45, an innocent victim, killed in police chase

WXYZ - Detroit, MI January 23, 2006
... They then sped away from the scene in a red Ford Taurus. Soon after the suspects left the 7-11, Redford Police spotted them, and the chase was on. ...

Commentary: Greg Fuller, Bloomfield, Michigan, click here.

September 25, 2002

Travis Miles, 8, Canton, (Police initiated a pursuit for a property crime suspect.)

Study Michigan's Pursuit Practices



September 6, 2005

Lino Lakes Police Officer
Shawn B. Silvera, 32

Police said the suspect struck 32-year-old Officer Shawn Silvera as he was laying down tire deflation devices during the chase.

Police Widow Faces First Christmas Without Husband;
watch the video, right here.

Jennifer Silvera honors late husband Shawn by teaching others to "Be Here Now." Read more, right here.

An officer tried to pull over a 26-year-old man 13 miles north in Wyoming, Minn.

The suspect was wanted on a felony warrant for assault and was a suspect in a home invasion, both in South Dakota officials said. He was allegedly driving a stolen Chevy Beretta.

Police said the man fled southbound on I-35W. Officials said they were unsure if the suspect intentionally hit officer Silvera or if he swerved to avoid the stop sticks Silvera was laying down.

The driver hit Silvera in the median and then crossed into oncoming northbound traffic hitting a minivan, police said.

Lino Lakes Officer Killed In High-Speed Chase; read the complete story and watch the video, right here.





Milinda Clark
Milinda Clark, 36
February 23, 2014

Milinda Clark = Mother, Selfless Social Worker, Friend

Mother Killed
Police chase did not save her life

Ridgeland, Mississippi—Milinda Clark, 36, of Flowood was doing what many of us do. She was returning to pick up her children at church.

At the same time, Ridgeland Police received a call about two shoplifters. The police response ultimately resulted in a chase with speeds reaching at least 90 mph. And, the consequence?

Milinda Clark was killed. Her two children will bury their mother. The lives of Milinda’s family and friends are forever changed. For some, their lives are forever shattered.

“I did not have the privilege of knowing Milinda,” says Candy Priano, executive director of PursuitSAFETY, a national nonprofit organization. “I do know that this is not the first time a police chase to apprehend shoplifters has killed an innocent person, a mother, a kind person.”

Priano is aware of other police pursuits to catch shoplifters that also resulted in the deaths of innocent bystanders. A Pennsylvania pursuit ended with the deaths of Jolene LaBar and her unborn baby. The suspect took a vacuum cleaner from a mall.

Margaret Branton and her son Lonnie Turner were killed instantly when a crash ended the chase for shoplifters in Georgia. In addition, Lonnie's wife was injured and their unborn baby died.

“There are more … many more,” Priano says. “Yet, one death—one death of an innocent person is one too many.”

On average, crashes due to drivers fleeing from the police kill someone every day. According to a 2004 Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center analysis of nine years of national statistics, "One third of these pursuit fatalities occur to innocent bystanders.”

Other studies by the FBI and recognized researchers in high-risk police activities concur with the Harborview analysis. According to an FBI report, “The lack of a mandatory reporting system hampers our government’s ability to track pursuit fatalities and results in the collection of as little as one-half of the actua data."

The death of Milinda Clark warrants a comprehensive review of the Ridgeland Police pursuit policy. Limited policies, which do not allow police chases for property crimes can work, save lives, and prevent a repeat of these tragedies.

More News Stories


April 2007

Alice Clausell, 69, Capital City, April 22

Family of chase victim seeks answers

by Nicklaus Lovelady

Family members of a 69-year-old woman killed during Saturday's police chase are asking why Alice Clausell of Pascagoula was killed in downtown Jackson after the car she was in was hit by a Ford Explorer being chased by a Raymond police officer.

"You can't imagine what this family is going through right now. Honestly this could all have been avoided," said Charles Wilson, III, Clausell son-in-law. "Common sense as a professional, you have to realize you have people's lives in you hands."

A Raymond police officer followed the Explorer into Jackson after the driver, Alice Marie Wilson, was suspected of driving reckless on Mississippi 18. When the Explorer crossed over into Jackson, the Jackson Police Department aided in the chase, but discontinued the chase after it was deemed unsafe, JPD spokesman Cmdr. Lee Vance said.

The Raymond officer continued to tail the SUV. Minutes after Jackson officers called off the chase, the Explorer crashed into the passenger side of a Nissan Sentra at Congress and Capitol streets. Clausell was in the front passenger seat of the Sentra. Raymond Police Department Chief Jason Crotwell was unavailable for comment on Sunday.

Commentary by Candy Priano: If officers continue to follow drivers who flee, these drivers will look in their rear-view mirrors and continue to drive recklessly because they perceive that the pursuit is still on and in reality, it is.

It is also too late to back-off when chases are approaching residential neighborhoods, schools, etc. The fleeing driver needs to believe the officers have really backed off before they drive in a safer manner and/or abandon the car. Officers must follow their pursuit policy.

Officers back off when they turn off their lights and sirens, turn around, and drive away in the opposite direction of the suspect. Backing off is most successful when it is done immediately. It is too late to back off when the pursuit is approaching a school zone, begins on busy streets, or the known driver is a flight risk, e.g., parolee, car thief, felon. When officers follow (even at a lower speed) the drivers believe they are still being pursued ... and they are being pursued.






November 8, 2007

Chris "Coop" Cooper, 17
Independence, MO

About Chris

A riderless skateboard, pictures and dozens of candles were at the center of a vigil Friday for the teen killed during an Independence Police Department chase.

"Everything is kind of overwhelming right now. And someone asked me, and all day, how do you feel? I don't know," Chris' brother Ryan Steeley said illuminated by candles. My brother was killed, he was 17 years old,"

Friends remembered "Coop" as a skater with a smile and for his ability to forge fast friendships.

"Just seeing all the people throughout here just proves how much of a good person he is," one student recalled fighting back tears. "That he has this many people coming to say goodbye.

The Chase

Chris was riding his bike when he was struck at 90 mph by a driver being chased by police.

Police took two men into custody Thursday night in connection with the death of Chris Cooper, 17. Police said they chased the pair after they rammed a car on 39th and Lee's Summit Road and sped off.

Wilfredo J. Pujols Jr., the driver of the car, was charged with second degree felony murder, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident and driving while intoxicated. Pujols blood alcohol level was 0.97.

May 27, 2007

One Crash = Two Children Killed in Missouri

Stephen K. Hayes, 13, and
his friend, Christian Lackey, 12
KNOB NOSTER, Mo. (AP) -- The driver of a stolen pickup truck attempted to flee police and crashed into a tree along a highway, killing himself and his two young passengers, authorities said Monday. Read the rest of the story, right here.

September 20, 2006

Families troubled by findings
September 30, 2006
Kansas City Star
All Commentary by Candy Priano: If this chase did not violate policy, then the Kearney Police Department needs to change its policy:

The chase lasted about 10 minutes along winding, hilly, two-lane roads with no shoulders. About three minutes into the chase, Hatfield radioed dispatchers that the car he was chasing was going about 100 mph. The car almost struck several vehicles and a maintenance worker, the report said.

KMBC's Martin Augustine reported this all started when Kearney police were called to a home on a domestic disturbance. When officers arrived, they spotted a car leaving the area. Authorities said the driver of the car refused to stop for police.

Kathryn Morris & Clark Nelson

Kathryn "Diane" Morris, 32, Cameron
& Clark A. Nelson, 26, Hamilton



Independent Investigation: Police Officer Involved in Deadly Chase Followed Standard Operating Procedures
Oct 5, 2006

Commentary: This report, which is no longer available, told us nothing about the "independent" investigation of the Missouri Highway Patrol. It recaps what we already read in previous news stories about the crash but nothing about pursuit policy and nothing to prove whether or not the policy was followed. We do not even know who conducted the "independent" investigation and if independent people served on the investigation team.


Pastor Nathaniel Cole, 56,
St. Louis, Feb. 13

Nearly every day, someone is killed during a high-speed chase between police and a suspect.
"It's ridiculous," Annie Cole, who last her husband Pastor Nathaniel Cole in a 2006 St. Louis police chase, said.

Annie and her husband were on their way to a Bible study when an SUV being chased by St. Louis police hit their car.
"I believe my husband would be alive if they had not done that chase," Annie said.
"I would really like the police department to think about it. Put a new plan in motion," Tina Marie Cole, Annie and Nathaniel's daughter, said. "There have been so many innocent children, women and men that have lost their lives because of the police chases."

Families gather to heal in wake of fatal chase
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - St. Louis, MO - March 10, 2006 - Story no longer available
... the people involved in a deadly, fiery crash that followed a high-speed police chase ... if everybody puts their mouths and heads together - these chases are going ...

Elijah Cole, left, and Tina Cole Martin
are the children of the Rev. Nathaniel Cole.



July 10, 2003

Toni Sena

Four years ago a bicyclist named Toni Sena was killed on a quiet residential street in Kansas City by a motorist fleeing police. Her friends successfully lobbied the Board of Police Commissioners to change the policy on chases. Kansas City police now engage in pursuits only when there is a "reasonable belief that the suspect presents a clear and immediate danger to the safety of others.

On July 10, 2003, a jealous, intoxicated man purposely ran over his ex-girlfriendfs boy friend in Overland Park, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb. The boy friend was not seriously hurt. The girl friend called the police and a chase ensued. The Kansas City, Missouri police took over when the chase drifted over the state line into Missouri. At the same time Toni Sena, her husband and a friend were leisurely riding their bicycles on a quiet neighborhood side street. They suddenly heard screeching tires and sirens. Within seconds, a white pickup truck careened around the corner, followed by pursuing police cars, and headed straight for the three cyclists. The husband and friend swerved right onto a yard. Toni tried to go left but had no time. The pickup struck Toni, throwing her over the hood. As she descended, she hit the hood and fell to the street. The driver ran over her and kept going. One police car stopped to give aid and the others continued the chase. Toni died at the hospital of internal bleeding shortly thereafter. The driver was soon arrested near his home a few blocks away. As Tonifs friends, we were not only devastated, we were confused and angry. A few of us decided to direct these emotions toward a positive good. For weeks, we researched the topic of police pursuits around the country through the Internet and through phone conversations with experts, both citizen and police. Through a concerted effort the Kansas City Police Department and we have totally revised the KCPD Pursuit Policy and as a result Kansas City is a safer place to live today. (Source:

Police chase policies

I am outraged at the number of police chases in the area that continue to end in major injuries and death. As I drive and bicycle throughout the Kansas City area, I have come to fear the sound of approaching sirens.

The death of bicyclist Toni Sena four years ago as a result of a police chase of a drunken driver brought about a reform of the Kansas City, Mo., police chase policies. The many tragedies caused by police chases in other municipalities since have not resulted in such a change.

I urge the mayor of my city, Joe Reardon, and the police chief, Samuel Breshears, to lead the way to a reasonable citywide pursuit policy by initiating a meeting of mayors and chiefs of the metropolitan area. We have a right to expect responsible behavior from those who are charged to protect and serve.

Cris Siebenlist
Kansas City, Kan.


Study Missouri's Pursuit Practices




No reports received.



No reports received.




The National Highway Traffic Administration reported seven fatalities involving police in pursuit in 2006.
Five were innocent bystanders in another vehicle.



New Hampshire

July 2006

Charles Jaynes Junior, 64, of Windham — July 31, 2006
An innocent man is dead and other innocent victims injured after woman bolts from a traffic stop and crashes ...

December 2005

David Gonyer, 28, Laconia, Dec. 30, 2005

'Horrendous' crash started with a chase
Two Laconia men dead; police say pursuit ended before Route 3 collision
Concord Monitor,—Jan. 2, 2006
From the story: "Eyewitness accounts may contradict the police claim that Gladle wasn't being pursued at the time of the crash."

Registration problem led to fatal crash
Concord Monitor—Jan. 4, 2006

Crash victim's family hires attorney
Concord Monitor—Jan. 6, 2006

Registration stop led to fatal crash
Concord Monitor—Jan. 7, 2006

Man fleeing police hit another driving home
Concord Monitor—Jan. 16, 2006

Wrongful death suit filed in Laconia crash
The Citizen—Jan.7, 2007


New Jersey

Jolene LaBar, 31
and her unborn baby
Date of crash: August 19, 2008 in Pennsylvania

Click here for stories on Jolene and her unborn baby.

Miriam Avraham, 10
Date of crash: October 16, 2008


Miriam’s mother, Helene Avraham, holds Miriam's picture outside her Fair Lawn home.

Horror: 10-year-old Miriam Avraham killed for a piece of property

October 16, 2008, New Milford, NJ: Miriam’s mother, Helene Avraham (holding Miriam's picture), burst into tears outside her Fair Lawn home as she described her daughter, a popular sixth-grader at the Solomon Schechter Day School in New Milford, as a joyful, well-rounded student whose vivacious personality could “fill up a room.”

Avraham’s 14-year-old son Shachar, his voice cracking, said Miriam was his best friend. “We’re going to miss her so much,” he said.

Hours before she died Thursday, Miriam had been ecstatic to learn she won the lead part of Golde in an upcoming school production of Fiddler on the Roof.

News Stories, click here.


September 2006

Christina Becker, 19, Cape May County, Sept. 27 2006

Jacqueline Becker, 17, Cape May County, Sept. 27 2006


April 2006

Trooper Craig Todeschini, 25 , April 23



November 2005

Dennis Howard Jr., 13, East Orange, Nov. 5

More stories about Dennis are right here.



New Mexico

Kimberly Aragon-Nunez (left) and Janice Flores
April 10, 2010

Kimberly Aragon-NunezspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerJanice Flores

The New Mexico Bank and Trust on Louisiana was robbed April 10, 2010. A police pursuit then occurred, and the robber, Jeremiah Jackson, crashed into Janice Flores and Kimberly Aragon Nunez who were killed during their lunch break.

Bank robberies are serious crimes. But, are chases the best and safest way to catch the robber? A few verbal comments and an email reveals that bank robbers almost always get caught by using other methods and resources. Here's the email comment: "Acts of violence occurred in 4% of bank robberies in 2009 and resulted in 140 injuries, 21 deaths, and 94 persons being taken hostage. Of the 21 reported deaths, all were perpetrators. The average loss was less than $8,000. Depending on who you listen to 60-75% eventually get caught, not a bad clearance rate. I believe a pursuit is usually unnecessary unless someone was seriously injured or killed. The purpose of the pursuit would be to prevent future injuries and deaths not apprehension for the crime 

New York

Karen Schmeer, 39
Date of crash: January 28, 2010

Karen SchmeerKaren Schmeer, 39

Police Chase Claims Life of Acclaimed Film Editor

The New York Times

January 31, 2010: What began with a report of three men shoplifting over-the-counter drugs from a CVS on the Upper West Side has ended with an arrest for the death of one of the nation's preminent documentary editors, whose credits include "The Fog of War."



News Stories Portland native Karen Schmeer, 39, remembered as loyal friend, talented film editor

Death and life an editor: It was a freak hit-and-run accident just before 8 p.m.on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Karen Schmeer, on her way home from working on an HBO documentary about chess player Bobby Fischer, was crossing Broadway at 90th when she was struck by a rented 2010 Dodge Avenger, which was being pursued by police following a Zyrtec robbery at the CVS pharmacy on 86th and Amsterdam.

More stories, click here.

July 25, 2007

Gabriel Bergianti, 27,
a member of the 427th Brigade Support Battalion of the Army National Guard.

A Suffolk police officer ran a red light to catch a motorcyclist and collided with Gabriel's car.

December 28, 2006

A 1991 photo of William Calhoun, center, with his two sons,
Brian, left, and Chris, right. Calhoun was killed on his couch
when a man fleeing from police crashed into his home.

William Calhoun, 59, Long Island, Dec. 28, 2006


June 2006

Luis Jativa, 35, Brooklyn, June 14, 2006

The women called cops, and when they arrived the 58-year-old Queens man, who has at least seven prior arrests involving public lewdness, jumped into his van and fled, police said.

Commentary by Candy Priano: I am so tired of hearing about overcrowded prisons. Our cemeteries are overcrowded with innocent victims of pursuit. If they are bad enough to chase, they are bad enough to keep in jail.

May 2006

At least four innocent people injured in wild police chase
WABC — New York, NY — May 31, 2006
A wild car chase led police through parts of New York and New Jersey

April 2006

Trooper Craig J. Todeschini 25, New York State Police, April 23

On November 1, 2006 the "Trooper Craig Todeschini Bill" was passed into law, creating the crime of Fleeing from a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle. ...

Commentary by Candy Priano: My thoughts and prayers continue for Trooper Todeschini's family, and I support Trooper Craig Todeschini Law.




North Carolina

December 1, 2007

My name is Elizabeth Lee. I am the older sister of Linsay and Maggie Lunsford. They were tragically killed on December 1, 2007. They were the innocent victims of a high speed police chase. My 18-year-old sister Linsay was driving (her 1999 Kia Sephia), and my youngest sister Maggie, 9, was riding in the back. They had been Christmas shopping. Linsay and Maggie died on impact. Then the cars caught on fire and burnt both cars. I cannot begin to tell you the hurt, but I know you understand. We have to make some change, this kind of thing, should not keep happening to innocent people. Thank you for your time.
Love in Christ, Elizabeth Lee

About Linsay and Maggie

Crash cuts promising lives short

GREENSBORO \ "Linsay has 175 friends."

On some Facebook profiles, that might look inflated.

But people who knew UNCG freshman Linsay Erin Lunsford said she was the kind of young woman every teacher wants in class, and everyone who met her wanted to get to know her.

Lunsford, 18, and her 9-year-old sister, Maggie Lunsford, were killed Saturday afternoon in Granville County when a man fleeing Franklinton police crashed into the car Lunsford was driving home from a shopping trip.

In less than a semester at UNCG, Linsay, an honors student, had become active in student government, community volunteering and in the Make a Difference House, a special housing option for students who are passionate about community service.

Little Maggie was involved in many things too. She had just participated in a Karate tournament that very morning.

Read more.

The Chase

N.C. officer on leave after fatal 90 mph chase

The Raleigh News & Observer

FRANKLINTON, N.C. — A Franklinton police officer and a driver he was chasing were traveling at 90 mph Saturday when the suspect crossed the center line on two-lane U.S. 15 and slammed head-on into another car, the N.C. Highway Patrol said Tuesday. The suspect and a pair of sisters traveling in the other car all died in the crash.

Franklinton police procedures prohibit officers from chasing suspects at speeds exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 mph or at a pace faster than reasonable for existing conditions. The posted speed limit on the highway where the wreck took place is 55 mph.

Read more.

February 2007

Leeanna Newman, 20, Feb. 6, 2007

Unborn Baby Girl of Bradley and Leeanna Newman, Feb. 6


Woman, unborn child die after wreck
Driver being followed by police
STEVE LYTTLE Leanna Newman

A young Rowan County woman and her unborn baby have died as a result of injuries suffered in a collision Tuesday afternoon with a driver being followed by police.

Authorities in Rowan County say the driver was not being chased -- merely followed.

The victim was Leanna Newman, 20, of Salisbury.

The wreck happened on Main Street in Landis.

Police in Landis say the incident began unfolding in Kannapolis, however, where officers say they noticed a red Jeep -- driven by Rigo Berto Guillen Martinez, 33 -- being operated erratically. Police say the Jeep crossed the center line and was weaving.

Police say they began following the Jeep. Witnesses told WCNC-TV, the Observer's news partner, that the Jeep struck several vehicles before hitting the Saturn driven by Newman.

The collision happened on Main Street in Landis. Newman's car overturned several times after being hit.

Newman, her 3-year-old daughter and Martinez all were transported to North East Medical Center in Concord initially, but Newman and Martinez were transferred Tuesday evening to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Newman and her unborn baby died overnight.

Martinez is in fair condition this morning.

Police say Newman's 3-year-old daughter was not seriously injured.

Investigators will have three issues to sort through today -- whether alcohol was involved; Martinez's status in the United States; and whether the death was the result of a police chase.

According to WCNC, Martinez had a Mexican driver license but not a N.C. license. Police have not said if alcohol was involved, or whether Martinez was in the United States legally.

Authorities also are expected to investigate whether police were chasing Martinez, although Landis officials said Tuesday that no high-speed pursuit was taking place. There have been several cases in recent months in which motorists being pursued by police struck and injured other motorists.


October 5, 2006

Lisa Knelson

Lisa Knelson, 47
Durham, NC

Special tribute to Lisa Knelson, 47, of Kildrummy Drive, Durham, a wife and mother who spent years working to help people with mental disabilities was killed Oct. 5, 2006, when a stolen car sped through a red light, police say.

Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said the driver was not being pursued by police at the time of the crash. It was reported that the officer knew the vehicle was stolen and attempted a traffic stop and did flash his lights.

Cautious police policy
won't pull danger off roads

The Durham News Editorial
... A Durham Police Department officer spotted the stolen SUV on the ride that would end in a fatal collision. When the officer turned on his siren and lights, the stolen SUV sped away, and the police department's policy prohibited the officer from pursuing. ....

(Candy Priano's response to the above editorial: Yes, we blame the driver first. However, did the officer expect the driver of a stolen vehicle to pull over appropriately? See a similar story: Kathryn "Katie" Bogosian-Langley.

I also support Robert Knelson's plea to change the Interstate Compact (see letter at right.)

Sentencing: Not Enough
The driver of the car (Shawn Maurice Powell) who hit Lisa Knelson's car has now been convicted and is serving a 10 year sentence.

A Letter for Mommy
by Robert John Knelson

An excerpt from this letter written to 15 state representatives for the state of North Carolina (pdf):

... It is blatantly clear that the judicial system is broken in more ways than one.  Powell was not hard to find and violated his probation numerous times, which under normal circumstances would lead to a warrant for his arrest.  This cumbersome process of transferring interstate warrants needs to be revised.  Probation officers also need to be more carefully selected and need to have more pride in their work.  It is evident that Hager did not do his job thoroughly.  One action I suggest you take is to make sure that there is a review of the Interstate Compact Office in Raleigh.  More importantly,  a new interstate compact needs to be created so that if a warrant is requested with valid evidence for the need of it, the other state involved must grant and transfer the warrant within a certain period of time, such as two weeks. It should be easier for probation officers to directly obtain warrants from other states.  New legislation is required so that this system does not fail again and so that other families do not have to experience a similar loss.

I believe that my father, Mark Knelson, sums it up best when he says, “I just think it’s sad that anybody’s life can be taken by somebody who should be incarcerated.”  My father also stated, “The fact of the matter is it’s difficult to blame him (Powell) because he’s demonstrated so many times he’s not a responsible person.  It’s really up to us, society, to keep him in a place where he can’t hurt people.”

This is my plea for you to take action and to change the Interstate Compact so that as a result innocent victims are not harmed because a warrant is not transferred in due time. 

My father will never again kiss his wife goodnight or look into her eyes.  My family has endured a lot, but we accept my mother’s death and know that we cannot change that.  What can be changed though is the Interstate Compact and the time allowed transferring a warrant from another state to North Carolina and that is what you need to do so that other families are spared. 


Robert John Knelson





North Dakota

No reports received



Johnny Kallmeyer, 54
Date of crash: September 2, 2007


Johnny Kallmeyer, 54, of Middletown, Ohio

Link to family pictures.

Johnny was well-known in Middleton, Ohio, for the Clydesdale horses he exhibited at parades and festivals. One of his favorite things was to teach his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews how to ride. On September 2, 2007, John Kallmayer was killed while on his way home from a family outing. A police chase through a residential neighborhood ended his life. The police were chasing a driver who made a u-turn at a DUI checkpoint.

Reason for chase: Driver made U-turn at DUI checkpoint.

August 2007

Virginia DiGiorgio, 57, Grafton
The Plain Dealer — August 5, 2007

Commentary by Candy Priano: It's not worth it. Another innocent person is killed because police cannot figure out another way to catch someone driving a stolen car.


September 2006

Sheila J. Pierce,
51, Grafton
The Plain Dealer — Sept. 17

Fleeing DUI suspect crashes into car, kills innocent driver

March 2006

Grace Chamberlain,
18, Kirtland, March 2, 2006
Andrew Hopkins,
18 Warren, March 2, 2006



November 2005

Kent Edward Castleberry, 47, Oklahoma City, Nov. 19, 2005

Kent Edward Castleberry, 47, of Warr Acres died after the vehicle he was riding in was hit by a car being chased by Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers at NW 36 and May Avenue. Troopers said the chased vehicle ran a red light during the pursuit, which had started when troopers tried to pull over a car during the investigation of a stolen car ring. Troopers arrested the driver of the chased vehicle, Michael Wade Hixon, 29, of Blanchard.

October 2005

Sgt. Jonathan Paul Dragus, 32, Oklahoma City Police Department, Oct. 20, 2005

Source for the above information came from Bryan Dean, The Oklahoman, Pursuit Policies Studied



No reports received




Latoya Smith, 22
Remedy Smith, 11-months; Alliyah Griffin, 6; Gina Marie Rosario, 7
Date of crash: June 10, 2009

Tragedy in Philadelphia

4 killed in philly 2009

Jolene LaBar, 31
and her unborn baby
Date of crash: August 19, 2008

Crash victim Jolene LaBar a new bride, expectant mother

Published: August 21, 2008
By Douglas B. Brill
The Express-Times

Jolene LaBar's family and friends spent Wednesday sharing stories at her parents' home, trying to accept what killed the bubbly newlywed who spent her last week telling people she was pregnant.

The 31-year-old Washington Township, N.J., resident was on her way home from work when she died in Tuesday afternoon's double-fatal crash on Route 22. A man fleeing police drove the wrong way on the highway and struck her car.

The family is frustrated with what started the chase. Police said Keith W. Messinger of St. Petersburg, Fla., who also died in the crash, was wanted for a theft. He was believed to have stolen a vacuum cleaner, according to a state police spokesman.

"It's not understandable how three cop cars can chase one guy the wrong way over a vacuum cleaner," said Alla Weber, 30, of Hackettstown, LaBar's friend since they met at Warren Hills Regional High School.

"It's $200. Let it go. You just lost a precious life that's more valuable than anyone can imagine."

JoLene LaBar

Jolene LaBar, 31,
of Washington Township, N.J.



News Stories

Questions ...
Questions now hang in the air after a high-speed chase and deadly head-on crash takes the lives of two people. Family, friends, and witnesses to the crash on Route 22 in Northampton County are still wondering why police went after a driver wanted for shoplifting. (Excerpt from The Express Times. This story is no longer available online.

Several factors weigh in on police chases
Two of those factors, the severity of the crime and traffic
conditions, were critical in the Route 22 rush-hour chase that
left two people dead Tuesday, but officers also are left to their
own discretion in these types of cases. The Morning Call

Links to other stories, click here.


May 28, 2007

Man Struck by Vehicle During Police Chase.
Read more, right here.

May 2006

Michelle A. Rankin, 35, Wilkinsburg, May 25, 2006
Jerome D. Smith, 34, Stanton Heights , May 25, 2006

November 2005

Newlywed Jorge Nazario, 25 of York
Google Search of Nov. 13, 2005 chase
Drama after hearing
The York-Dispatch, March 29, 2006

Study Pennsylvania's Pursuit Practices



Rhode Island

No reports received



South Carolina

Brenton James Winchester, 38
Date of crash: September 10, 2008


Father of two identifed as crash victim

By Ron Barnett
Brenton James Winchester, a 38-year-old father of two, has been identified as the [innocent] victim in a car crash that also
killed a woman fleeing a deputy at high speed on State 183.

Winchester, of 207 Bellewood Drive, Easley, was on his way to work at the time of the accident Wednesday night, said Pickens County Chief Deputy Coroner Kandy Kelley. He died at the scene, she said.

The collision happened when Nicole Lynn Miller, 34, tried to pass another car while being pursued by a Pickens County deputy at the crest of a small hill, authorities said. She lost control of the car and slammed into Winchester’s vehicle, which was heading in the opposite direction, toward Greenville, they said.

The two-minute pursuit topped 90 mph along a dark, hilly, two-lane highway, officials said.

The Sheriff’s Office is awaiting a report from Highway Patrol investigators and hasn’t determined whether the pursuit was warranted, Sheriff’s Office Capt. Carl Hudson said. Miller was driving with a suspended license and was several hours late returning a car which a woman she worked for had let her use for an errand.

The deputy, Travis Usrey, remained on active duty Friday, Hudson said.

Born in Easley, Winchester was a maintenance technician at Bausch & Lomb and an avid hunter and fisherman,
according to Robinson Funeral Home.
Department of Natural Resources records show that he holds a state record for one of the top 100 deer killed in South
Carolina, in November 1995.
He told The Greenville News at the time that he killed the 10-point buck on public wildlife management land in Pickens
He was a member of Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley, where his funeral will be held today at 11 a.m.
"They’re just a fine, outstanding family," Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan said.
Friends who posted condolences on the funeral home’s Web site recalled Winchester as a loving family man.
"Our hearts are broken with yours today," Pastor Tim and Judy Lee wrote. "Brent was such a loving and kind Christian
He is survived by his wife, Tammi Boggs Winchester; a son, Justin; and a daughter, Laney.

Staff writer Amy Clarke contributed to this report

News Stories

Pickens chase under review
Law officials reviewing tape of pursuit that ended with two dead

By Ron Barnett
STAFF WRITER, Greenville
The state Highway Patrol and the Pickens County Sheriff's Office are reviewing a video of a deputy's high-speed pursuit
that ended in two deaths, according to Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan.
"We're still gathering information," he said. "They were up all night so we still have to talk to officers."
Deputies are trained to weigh the risk versus gain of conducting high-speed pursuits, Morgan said.
"You consider all the factors -- the time of day, the traffic, school zones, the weather, the driving of the car you're pursuing," Morgan said.
The chase that killed the fleeing driver, Nichole Lynn Miller, 34, of Marietta, and a driver of another vehicle whose name hasn't been released by the coroner, topped 90 mph, he said.
The deputy was far enough behind to avoid the collision, Morgan said.
Traffic was light -- two other vehicles besides the ones involved in the crash were on that nearly three-mile stretch of
State 183 at the time, he said.
After the wreck, another car crashed into a patrol car parked at the scene while the road was blocked, Morgan said. No
one was injured but the driver was charged with DUI.
At the scene Thursday, skid marks streaked across the highway at the spot where the collision occurred, and a few
pieces of metal were strewn along the shoulder of the road.
This was the 10th pursuit by Pickens County deputies this year, Morgan said. He wasn't sure if any of the others had
resulted in accidents.
The incident began when a Thomas Mill Road resident called the Sheriff's Office to make a "breach of trust" complaint,
saying Miller hadn't returned with her car after three hours.
Miller had been working as a caregiver for the resident, who had sent her to pick up a pizza and put gas in her car,
Morgan said.
Deputy Travis Usrey noted in his report that the resident and another person who had come to the house told him that
Miller's driver's license was suspended.
The Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, but won't make a determination as to the appropriateness of the pursuit,
said spokesman Sid Gaulden. It could take up to a couple of months for its investigation to be completed, he said.
Usrey remains on active duty, although he will be offered time off if he needs it, Morgan said. He has been with the Sheriff’s Office “a few years,” Morgan said.

Links to other stories, click here.


Mike Wilson, 53, of Columbia

Study South Carolina's Pursuit Practices


South Dakota

Deanna Mogck, 13, and Trevor Doering, 9.

The children's father kidnapped the children.

Read the story, right here.





August 2006

Donna Lynne Wilson, 47, Mt. Juliet, June 8, 2006

Sean Paul Wilson, 38, Mt. Juliet, June 8, 2006

Add Donna and Sean Wilson of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, to the list of innocent Americans killed by drunk drivers in high-speed police chases. The Wilsons' deaths from a frontal collision in a June 8 DUI crash and police chase were entirely preventable and would never have happened if the government were doing its primary job of putting drunk drivers in jail the first time they get caught and deporting illegal aliens who continually break the law. The fleeing driver, an illegal alien, had 14 prior arrests (The Tennessean, 6/16/06).

June 2002

Patrolman David John Scott
Clarksville Police Department, TN
EOW: Friday, June 7, 2002
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit

Patrolman Yamil Baez-Santiago
Clarksville Police Department, TN
EOW: Friday, June 7, 2002
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit


Texas Tragedy

Listen to radio interviews by PursuitSAFETY media representatives Esther Seoanes
and Jessica Herrera Rodriguez regarding a 2013 Texas pursuit that Killed Family of Six.


Erika Clouet, 24, and German Clouet, 23
Date of crash: September 1, 2008


Erika Clouet, 24, and German Clouet, 23
Dallas, Texas

They were newlyweds, she a second-grade teacher, he an aspiring musician, enjoying the Labor Day weekend and driving home as a date at the movies.

News Stories

Newlyweds Erika Clouet, 24, and German Clouet, 23, were on a date, returning home after an evening at the movies. Married just two months earlier, their lives and the years ahead of them were taken away. A chase for a suspected drunken driver in Dallas, Texas, September 1, 2008, ended in a fiery crash, involving the suspected drunken driver and the young couple. The crash seriously injured four others in another vehicle. The suspect is a repeat offender on all counts: DWI and fleeing from the police.

Dallas police sheriff chases SUV, which then hits two other SUVs

Outrage follows deadly crash, The Dallas Morning News, September 2, 2008

More stories, click here.


Dr. Wesley Gustafson, 75
Date of crash: July 28, 2008

Wesley Gustafson

Dr. Wesley "Dr. Gus" Gustafson, 75
Houston, Texas

Gustafson grew up in Galveston, served in the Navy during the Korean War, and delivered more than 800 babies as a family doctor. "He loved everyone, with money or without," said Sharon Petree, Gustafson's former nurse. "He would treat people for free."

His family practice started in Memorial Hospital Downtown, and continued until the day he died. During his practice of medicine, he delivered over 800 babies, and took care of all of his patients as though they were family. His bedside manner will be dearly missed by all those who experienced it. "

Fox report: Suspect faces murder charge, click here.

Links to other stories, click here.

Family, Friends Remember Innocent Man Killed In Chase
By Elizabeth Scarborough,
POSTED: July 29, 2008
HOUSTON -- Friends and family of an innocent man killed during a police chase Monday reflected on his life hours after his death, KPRC Local 2.

Wesley Gustafson Jr. celebrated his 75th birthday this month.

"He just turned 75, looking forward to 80," son Wesley Gustafson III said.

A nearby store had surveillance of him walking from his red SUV Monday morning.

"It's a very shocking experience," Wesley Gustafson III said. "I hope no other family ever has to go through this."

Police said the chase lasted about 10 minutes. The suspect was speeding and hit two other cars during the pursuit, investigators said.

The suspected burglar's car was initially recognized in connection with several burglaries in Harris County, detectives said. Investigators said the suspected burglar also had two warrants out for his arrest. One was from Louisiana.

Police said the pursuit was within their chase policy.

"We have a felon who chose to make that call," Lt. Bill Sala said. "He was not concerned about anyone else. Who knows how it far would have gone if he hadn't been stopped."

Some of Gustafson's friends said that policy needs to be reexamined.

"We can follow people until (they) run out of gas, but today an innocent man died," friend Dick Tindal said. "I think that's terrible."

Police said they are reviewing the chase and their policy.

The suspected burglar's identity has not been released, but police said he will face a felony murder charge.

Copyright 2008 by All rights reserved; reprinted with permission.


July 2007

Margarita Muniz, 44, Brownsville, July 10, 2007

The chase started when a deputy spotted a man getting out of the passenger side of a truck in the Cameron Park area. The passenger seemed suspicious, so the deputy pursued the truck.

Commentary: It's worth repeating. These violent crashes are not accidents.

News Channel 5


April 2007

Rikki Danielle Sanchez, 24, Houston, April 24, 2007

Rikki Danielle Sanchez leaves behind a husband, a 7-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. Houston Police chased the driver of a stolen vehicle.

April 2006

Brian Oliver Turner, 18

Jefferson County Chase Ends in Innocent Teenager`s Death
KBTV-4, April 9, 2006
"Brian was just a young man who was totally innocent, and now he`s lost his life," says Chief Bush.

Robberies, high-speed chase result in young man's death
ROLANDO GARCIA, The Enterprise April 10, 2006
... Because of traffic on the road - in particular, a convoy of motorcycles - the deputies in pursuit slowed down and kept their distance from the Honda in hopes the suspects would also slow down ...

Commentary: Most, if not all, restrictive pursuit policies, would validate this chase. The suspects had committed robberies with the use of a knife. My information comes from these two news reports, so my comments are based on these reports. First, I want to thank Chief Bush for referring to this innocent young man by his given name. Surprisingly, law enforcement officials typically refer to innocent victims of pursuit as "that woman," "that man," etc.

Second — and this is not a criticism of the officers involved in this chase — the public needs to understand that as long as the officers were behind the suspects, they most likely still considered that the officers were pursuing them. Researchers who have interviewed fleeing suspects report that as long as officers are still following, the suspects will not slow down. A pursuit is abandoned when the officers turn off their lights and sirens and turn around in the opposite direction of the suspect. Still, with the use of their radios, officers can initiate other resources to catch the suspect.

January 26, 2006

Kyndall Batiste, 12,

The Stakes Have Risen


May 8, 2005

Denis Verdecia, 40
A wife and mother widowed on Mother's Day said she spent Monday choosing a headstone for her husband, an innocent victim killed when a fleeing driver in a stolen SUV ran a stop sign at an intersection.

Mr. Vedecia's family spent the day arranging for a funeral and trying to find the words to tell his 5-year-old son that daddy will not be coming home.

The above information is from


Study Texas' Pursuit Practices



Philemon Ellis, 62, and Jessica Nelson, 21

Study Utah's Pursuit Practices



No reports received




Raymond Rogers Jr.

Raymond Rogers Jr., 49
Innocent Bystander

Suspect who hit, killed man during police chase arraigned

Ronald Lee Perkins, Jr., the man who allegedly led police on a chase across two cities and killed a man in the process, was arraigned today on homicide charges.

Speaking to a judge through a video monitor, Ronald Perkins Jr. said he would not ask for bail until he could meet with a public defender.

He is accused of leading Beach police on a high-speed chase, racing down Northhampton Boulevard at least 20 miles faster than the speed limit. That means, his car was traveling 65 mph or more when it hit and killed a truck driver who was walking across the road.

The crash late Monday killed Raymond Rogers, Jr. Police say Perkins, an armed-robbery suspect, later ditched his battered car in Norfolk where police eventually found him yesterday.

Court documents show he is a drywall installer, but said he has no income. A magistrate noted he has multiple felonies on his record for property and drug crimes, and he's on probation.

Records show Portsmouth police have two robbery charges waiting for him. Police say late last year, Perkins was named a suspect in a Portsmouth armed robbery. A Beach officer spotted his car Monday night and chased it, breaking off the pursuit when the fleeing car hit the man crossing the road.

In Virginia Beach, he's facing charges of hit and run, eluding police, and homicide.

April 2007

Campbell County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Lee Saunders, 24, Altavista, April 3, 2007

August 2006

Off-Duty Police Lt. James H. Sears, 38, Virginia, August 12, 2006

Douglas Brown Receives 20 Years for Deadly Police Chase
Posted: May 5, 2008 01:27 PM
Updated: May 5, 2008 01:28 PM

Associated Press - May 5, 2008 3:05 PM ET

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (AP) - A Barboursville man who led Chesterfield County police on a chase that ended in the death of an off-duty Colonial Heights police officer will spend 20 years in prison.

A Colonial Heights judge sentenced 37-year-old Douglas Michael Brown Jr. to 10 years each for involuntary manslaughter and felony hit and run and five years each for eluding police and being a habitual traffic offender. He suspended 10 years.

Brown was convicted in December in the August 2006 death of off-duty Colonial Heights police Lt. James Sears, during a 10-mile pursuit in Chesterfield County that reached speeds of up to 110 mph. Patrolman Haywood James III lost control of his cruiser while chasing Brown and slammed head-on into Sears.

Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

March 2006

The following three stories were written by David Reynolds of the Daily News-Record, Virginia:

Cop involved in chase no longer on the force

Departments toughen rules for pursuit

Dorothy Swao, 35, is in critical condition

Commentary by Candy Priano: One thing I read in just about every news story when an innocent person is killed or injured is that officers must make the call to pursue by taking into account weather conditions, traffic, surroundings, time of day, etc. ... but do they? In California, an innocent father of three was facially disfigured for life when the chase ended in a fiery crash. The police decided to light up a known thief in a Sam's Club parking lot! Did the police really take into consideration their surroundings? Did they really think someone who is a criminal would pull over appropriately? When the story came out, the police said the pursuit did not last that long, less than a minute, somehow giving the impression that the length of the pursuit justified what happened to this innocent man's face. Of course the pursuit was short, look at the location: Sam's Club and one of the busiest intersections in the city! When the police received the call that this suspect was in Sam's Club, perhaps sending unmarked police cars and then following (not chasing) the suspect until he was no longer behind the wheel of a 5,000 pound "bullet" would have been a better strategy. Other units could have been out of site but kept apprised of the situation via radios. When the driver was no longer behind the wheel or near the car, the officers could have apprehended the suspect.

April 2005

Cynthia Booker, 57, Virginia, April 2, 2005

Study Virginia's Pursuit Practices




Washington State

October 2006

Bobby Aguilar and Edgar Mendoza, both 19, Yakima, Oct. 22, 2006

Friends Bobby Aguilar and Edgar Mendoza were killed when their car was broadsided at a busy intersection in Yakima by the driver of a stolen car fleeing police. Another friend was badly injured.

The suspected driver of the stolen car, 20-year-old Blake Young, was jailed and is awaiting trial on charges of second-degree murder and vehicular assault.

Families say stiffer sentences will save lives



Christopher Suydan is shown in 2000 with his children Octavia and Christopher. The children were on an outing with their dad. They were just steps in front of their father in a crosswalk when they were were killed in 2004 by a car fleeing District police. (Family Photo)

Washington D.C.

Facts, Please
Washington Post Editoral
June 16, 2007

May 30, 2007

2 Killed, 15 Injured in Chain of Beltway Crashes

Kevin McCarter, 49, of Fort Washington and his friend Sidney Clanton Jr., of Buffalo were killed.

by Clarence Williams and Elissa Silverman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 31, 2007

A police attempt to stop a speeding motorcycle touched off a gruesome series of collisions on both sides of the Capital Beltway in Prince George's County last night, killing two people and injuring 15 others, including two officers. ...

The force of the impact caused the car to go airborne over the median's guardrail and into oncoming traffic on the inner loop. That caused a chain-reaction crash involving five southbound cars.
The motorcycle sped off, and its driver remained at large, police said.
Read the complete story in the Washington Post right here.

CBSNews story still active as of April 22, 2013 at this link:


September 11, 2004


Christopher Suydan is shown with his children Octavia and Christopher. The children, ages 8 and 7 respectively, were on an outing with their dad. They were just steps in front of their father in a crosswalk when they were were killed in 2004 by a driver fleeing District police. (Family Photo)

Reason for chase: The officers chased a known drug dealer on a busy street at noon.

Commentary by Jim Phillips in 2004. Jim Phillips died in 2006.

Jim Phillips of comments on this chase:
It is disputed by witnesses that Washington police had broken off the chase of a driver who had fled a scene of a "buy and bust" narcotics sting because, according to DC police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile, the suspect recognized the officers. Troubling enough, but a statement by Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham is nothing less than shocking, "Even if police had violated the policy," Newsham said, "the officers would not be responsible for the children's death. The blame lies solely on the shoulders of the driver who was fleeing." Brings to mind the question-Why do the DC police even have Policies?"

Read more of Jim's commentaries on other Outrageous Police Vehicular Pursuits, right here.

Google: More stories on this chase



West Virginia

No reports received



Melinda Moore

Melinda Moore, 21
March 1, 2010

Melinda is the fourth person in two months to be killed by a driver fleeing from Milwaukee police in three different chases.


March 2003

Tina L. Brown, 26, Dane County, March 1

Dane County Sheriff's Deputy pursued a drunk driver.



No reports received



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