Officials said a 27-year-old man sped off after an officer tried to pull him over for driving with a suspended license. He led police on a chase that reached speeds of more than 115 mph. The chase ended in the crash that killed a 22-year-old Farmington man Monday night.
The young man killed had worked as a chef at a resort a short distance from the car wash. The fleeing driver was hospitalized with unspecified injuries and has been charged with vehicular homicide, a state police spokesperson said.
Police will sometimes stop their pursuit of suspects in high-speed chases to reduce the risk of accidents. The spokesperson said officers in this case “felt it was necessary to continue the pursuit for the safety of other motorists.”
The spokesperson said in some situations, it is purely the officer’s call on whether or not to continue pursuit. In other cases, a supervisor makes the decision, the spokesperson told a Pittsburgh TV station.
“Vehicle pursuits involve a very high degree of risk,” a Pennsylvania state police commissioner said two years ago after the release of a report showed police pursuits were increasing. “We must constantly balance the risk we present to ourselves, and the public, against our duty to apprehend.”
In 2012, there were 1,522 police pursuits across the state. Just over 27 percent were discontinued by officers and 29.8 percent ended when the suspect stopped his or her vehicle.
Of the 1,522 pursuits, a little over one third (517) resulted in vehicle crashes, with 187 of the crashes involving injuries.
We wish the best for the grieving family of the young man killed in the collision earlier this week. In some similar situations, we know that families will, as a part of the healing process, file a wrongful death lawsuit against a reckless driver.