Monday morning, local police pursued a driver of a white automobile for about 30 minutes on the Southwest Freeway. In the process, the fleeing suspect hit several other vehicles. Although ambulances responded to the scene, early reports do not indicate any injuries. The chase apparently started near Bellaire, and it ended shortly before noon on the freeway near the split of Highway 59 and I-45. The driver was ultimately arrested.
Our community may have gotten lucky this time. Chases of those fleeing police impose tremendous risks on the police officers, other drivers, and even the suspects themselves. Certainly, when law enforcement attempts to stop a driver to investigate a possible violation of the law, he should should pull over promptly and safely. Fleeing police in a motor vehicle is justifiably a felony.
At the same time, officers must consider what laws the suspects may have violated. For instance, chasing a person at highway speeds on a busy freeway for an expired inspection sticker simply is not worth the risk. In fact, law enforcement departments across the nation confront the same issue of high speed chases. And many have determined that there are safer alternatives that allow them to apprehend drivers who break the law while sharply reducing the chance that a fleeing suspect will seriously injure or even kill innocent motorists. Our own community has seen such tragedies. Thus, it is time for a coordinated policy that will help to ensure the apprehension of criminals while minimizing the hazards of high-speed chases. We need a uniform procedure across our county so that law enforcement catches those who violate the law without endangering those who follow it.