NASCAR-like chase was dangerous

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Common sense gets a little blurry as the darkened road passes at NASCAR speeds and adrenaline rages.

Last week, logic was left in the dust as blue lights flashed, tires screeched and emotions tore through the night at 120 mph.

On Thursday night, at approximately 10:30 p.m. a Sicily Island, La., police officer attempted to pull over a car speeding through town.

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The driver refused to stop.

Some 30 to 40 minutes later that driver had led more than a dozen officers from eight local law enforcement agencies on a more than 60-mile, high-speed chase that screamed through two parishes and three towns in Louisiana and two counties and the City of Natchez in Mississippi.

Mere speeding charges cannot justify such an incredible show of bad judgment.

Each agency involved should have standards in place to determine if and when a high-speed chase is warranted.

The evidence we’ve seen, heard and witnessed would indicate that even under the most liberal of chase policies a chase should not have been justified.

We’re thankful no one was hurt in the chase; it’s a miracle given the distance, speed and traffic involved.

Each local law enforcement agency leader needs to carefully review their chase policies and discipline the officers who went beyond both common sense and their own departmental rules.

It’s easy to say, “We don’t know what the driver may have had in that car. There may have been a body in the trunk.”

Perhaps, but is that justification for risking a trail of innocent bodies across 60 miles?

Certainly not.