Coming out of Tucson, Arizona is a story that warrants a facepalm and a sigh. Police deployed spike strips to stop a high-speed chase, but ended up disabling seven of the wrong cars in the process. One of the drivers says the spike strips needlessly put innocent people at risk.
On Saturday, Kim Egita headed up I-10 in Arizona to celebrate her mother’s birthday. But on the highway near Casa Grande, she witnessed traffic putting on brakes as an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper crouched on the side of the road, reports KGUN 9 News. A moment later, she rolled through a spike strip without even realizing it, from KGUN 9:
“And in a split second I went over whatever was in the road and realized something horrific happened. At that moment, putting two and two together, realizing my tire or later find out two tires are flat, trying to navigate my way off the freeway going 70-75 miles an hour with someone very close behind me, which I later realized was the suspect.”
Egita said that she and several other drivers hit the strips at highway speed, then struggled to pull over without causing a crash. It was later when the drivers learned that they were in the middle of a 31-mile police chase. And to add insult to injury, the suspect kept on going as they pulled over with their blown tires.
When all was said and done, witnesses counted seven cars disabled on the side of the highway.
Spike strips are a known danger to both innocent motorists and the police that deploy them. Police say that the devices are supposed to gradually deflate tires and it’s not a problem when people simply drive through them, but a trip through some YouTube compilations or even here shows that it’s not always that simple. Remember the one where a suspect slid right into a stopped car?
Other times, as the New York Times reports, innocent bystanders get harmed killed.
Even officers have been hit by the very suspects that they’re trying to stop when trying to deploy the devices. According to Local 12 News, 16 officers have died deploying spike strips between 2009 and 2018. More end up injured.
Thankfully nobody was hurt here, just tires.
Egita says that the police response was disappointing on top of what already felt like needlessly putting innocent people at risk. They offered her an apology and called in a tow truck to take her car to a tire shop. She is out more than $700 for the tow and the two tires; money she is trying to get back from DPS. It’s unknown what damages occurred to the other cars.