A wild police chase ended in a violent crash on Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Wednesday after five teenagers fled the scene of an attempted car theft.
All five teenagers inside the vehicle were taken into custody, Local 10 reports:
Sky 10 was above the scene shortly after 8 a.m. as the Infiniti QX60 was traveling at a high rate of speed just before it clipped two vehicles, causing the Infiniti to spin out of control and end up on its roof.
Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman Casey Liening confirmed that the chase started after officers were called just before 7 a.m. to a home burglary in the 2200 block of Northeast 28th Avenue. According to police, the suspects were in the Infiniti as they tried to steal another car from a home’s garage.
Liening said the description of the vehicle the suspects were in was broadcast by dispatch and officers located the vehicle a short time later and tried to pull over the driver.
During the chase, the teens in the Infiniti hit a bicyclist, who was treated for non-life threatening injuries. The teens then made their way back on to the interstate. Bobbing and weaving through the morning rush hour traffic, the teens luck ran out when they clipped a blue Honda CR-V, which collided with yet another car. The Infiniti flipped and spun across the freeway lanes before coming to a rest in front of a police cruiser. Another police cruiser arrived and hit the already disabled Infiniti while the teenaged occupants were trying to crawl out. At one point, one of the drivers of the CR-V stumbled out, disoriented into traffic and the middle of police with guns drawn.
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What a shit show. To review: We have a bicyclist almost flattened by a speeding Infiniti and at least two drivers who were just trying to go about their day-to-day lives put in extreme danger, and for what? A non-violent attempted burglary and car theft.
This kind of mayhem isn’t unusual of course, and it’s a blessing no one died in this case. Many have from such police actions. From 1995 to 2015, police chases led to over 7,000 fatalities, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, half of those deaths were either of bystanders or a cop. That comes out to about one death a day. One investigation in New Jersey found most police chases start over something as simple as a traffic violation, the Appeal reports:
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, an investigation by Andrew Ford of the Asbury Park Press into police vehicle pursuits has found that “New Jersey chases usually start with a traffic violation and usually don’t end with an arrest. … Even when someone is arrested, they’re usually not charged with a violent crime.”
“New Jersey police pursuits killed at least 63 people in the past decade and injured more than 2,500. Nearly half the people injured were bystanders and cops,” wrote Ford. More than half of those killed in vehicle pursuits were not in the car being pursued.
Among cities, “Newark police car chases killed black residents at a higher rate than any other city in the country, the last decade of federal fatal crash data shows.” Furthermore, the chases only led to arrests in fewer than half the pursuits, about 40 percent of the pursuits led to crashes, and nearly 1 in 5 resulted in injuries. The city police department did update its policies in 2017, restricting the circumstances under which police can initiate pursuits, which led to fewer chases, crashes, and injuries in 2017 and 2018.
Such chases actively put our communities in danger and serve little purpose, but only a small fraction of police departments ban such pursuits. They’re deadly and almost always unnecessary, but cops seem to love them, so I guess we’ll live with it.