Saturday, April 3, 2010

Police Pursuit and Crash

I’ve been covering news since 1987 and have never witnessed what I saw last night. Sure, I’ve been to police chases before, some of them fatal. I’ve seen people trapped in bad wrecks. I’ve seen teenagers ejected in crashes because they didn’t wear seat belts. Last night after 30 minutes working with the Jaws of Life to free a young girl trapped in a car the unexpected happened. A spark ignited leaking gas and in seconds firefighters were frantically trying to extinguish a fire that threatened the young girl trapped in the back seat. The firefighter worked really fast to put out the flames and it really was all over in about 15 seconds but it took my breath away, in a way that news seldom does after 23 years on the job.

The SIU may not be saying much but it’s no secret. The accident occurred within seconds of the first radio transmission. An officer was following a vehicle that was not stopping when attempting to pull it over. Before the usual questions could even be asked, speed, licence plate, description …. It was over. As the minivan approached the intersection of Albion and Highway 27 the van struck two vehicles, one worse than the other, trapping a nine year old girl in the back seat of the crushed wreckage. We could hear her crying in pain as they attended to her father who was bleeding and shaken.

From the minivan, police will allege that one male ran from the scene, the other who appeared incoherent, arrested right away. The runner didn’t make it far. Within moments they were both cuffed, of little consolation to the victims now being rushed to local hospitals. Today the details are sketchy in the news media. SIU is on the case. The facts will emerge at a snails pace. Police are forced to say nothing until SIU completes the investigation, although I would guess they would like the public to know what really happened. I think they did a great job, balancing the need to apprehend with the need for public safety. Although this incident was barely long enough to be called a pursuit, police call off most chases within minutes or at the first sign of erratic driving, a fact too well known among those trying to avoid apprehension.
Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Post a Comment