An officer’s decision to engage in a vehicle pursuit may be based on an assessment of a perceived threat, the severity of a suspected crime or a law enforcement agency policy. At all times, Raleigh police officers must remain conscious of public safety. Fleeing drivers have no such motivation and often place civilians at risk during a dangerous quest to escape capture.
Eight people, including two Cornelius officers, were injured during the pursuit of a Charlotte man accused of committing crimes in two states. The wanted man sped away in an Infiniti SUV when authorities attempted to take him into custody at a motel. The chase led officers up and down Interstate 77 and ended with a crash.
The Charlotte Observer said the 48-year-old driver headed north and exited at Mooresville. The Cornelius officers were injured when the SUV made an abrupt U-turn and slammed into the pursuing police car. The Infiniti driver returned to Interstate 77 southbound, crossed a median and once again drove north.
The Infiniti left the highway and headed toward Huntersville where the car crossed a centerline, veered into oncoming traffic and collided with two vehicles. Another vehicle struck the wreckage. A half dozen people were hurt in the motor vehicle accident, including three victims with serious injuries.
New charges will be brought against the injured driver upon his hospital release. Among the allegations will be assault on a government official, a crime for which he was recently convicted in Mecklenburg County.
North Carolina residents debate whether other methods of criminal capture should be used instead of high-speed chases. Injured civilians may file accident claims against at-fault drivers. In some cases and under certain legal restrictions, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can be filed against a police officer and government employer when an accident victim’s injury or death is caused by gross negligence of public safety.
Source: WSOC-TV, ” Police: Chase led to morning crash, suspect faces multiple charges” Jul. 12, 2014