Fatal High Speed Chase Didn't Violate Flawed Policy

When a policy that is "properly followed" ends in the death of an innocent teenage girl and her 9 year old sister, it's time to change the policy.

Franklinton Police Chief Ray Gilliam said Sunday afternoon policy was properly followed in a high-speed police chase and crash that killed three people. ... Franklinton police officer Michael Dunlap observed Guy Christopher Ayscue, 38, of Henderson, driving very erratically in a Pontiac, according to police. Dunlap tried to stop Ayscue using his lights and siren, but Ayscue drove off, and Dunlap pursued.

Dunlop chased Ayscue for 13 miles. Three times during the chase, Dunlop saw Ayscue enter a lane of oncoming traffic, but Dunlop continued the high speed pursuit. That judgment may not have violated a flawed departmental policy, but Dunlop was foolish to give Ayscue an incentive to drive faster.

Ayscue was traveling north on U.S. Highway 15 and went to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone when he hit a 1999 Kia head-on, Gilliam said. ... It is estimated that Ayscue was traveling at 90 mph at the time of the crash.

< The Death Penalty Is About Right and Wrong | Waxman Requests Plame Documents >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Chaseing (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by sedipple on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 08:45:30 AM EST
    First post sounds like the Police.

    I know personally of (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Lora on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 08:55:39 AM EST
    Two needless deaths and one close call from high-speed chases in which the people fleeing from police had committed something quite petty.  Illegal, yes, but nothing meriting a death sentence.

    I say, catch 'em later.  I'd rather risk a potential future accidental death from not chasing at high speed, than increase the odds of an immediate accidental death by chasing at high speed.

    How does the police know (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:50:27 AM EST
    that the auto trying to escape doesn't have an unreported kidnap victim tied up and tossed in the trunk?

    A murdered body in the trunk?? Leaving the scene of an unreported robbery??

    etc., etc, etc.

    What you have is 20-20 hindsight. Something that we all suffer from. But... fleeing is a clear indication that the person trying to escape has committed a crime. The crime is unknown.

    The person who killed was the driver. Not the police.


    Gee... (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by Lora on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 03:40:13 PM EST
    Anyone could have a body in the trunk and be perfectly law-abiding on the outside.  Perhaps we should perform random traffic stops and check people's trunks for bodies.  Foresight, you know.

    In any case, the poor person in the trunk would be a lot safer if they didn't crash and burn in a high-speed car chase.


    What logic. (1.00 / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 06:17:00 PM EST
    So because of that we should ignore people who try and escape??

    Logic, indeed! (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by Lora on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 06:31:28 PM EST
    So because of that we should ignore people who try and escape??

    Now, did I say that?  reads  Nope!  But we should not endanger lives needlessly.  Especially with a baby in the trunk!


    It is far far better to kill innocent bystanders (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jen M on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 01:43:47 PM EST
    Then let someone who's going 11 miles over the speed limit and who MIGHT have abducted five babies and be smugling an illegal immigrant with 5 pounds of cocaine and a fertilizer bomb hidden in his car be caught by some other cruiser you call on your radio.

    He used his radio. (1.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 06:15:56 PM EST
    BTW - You do understand that in some cases Scotty is busy and can't beam down a cruiser.

    Jen, tell me. Is it true that, as a child, you always pulled for the villian??


    Most cops (none / 0) (#15)
    by Patrick on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 07:04:36 PM EST
    don't even try to stop for 11 over, and I know of no one who starts a chase for any reason with the intent to harm anyone, innocent or otherwise.  Try realistic arguments.  

    tell that to Jim (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Jen M on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:24:40 PM EST
    see, it is perfectly ok for me to do it. I have such a good excuse. All I have to do is use Jim's defense. I say 'he did it first'

    Heh (1.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 07:27:30 AM EST
    Jen.... Can you show where I said the police should pull someone over for doing 11 miles over the limit??

    And the answer is, no you can not.

    My point was, is and will be, this simple. If the police decide to pull a car over, and if the car flees, then the police do not know why. They must assume that a crime has been committed and that it is possible that someone's life may be in the balance.

    If you want to stop the problem, put a mandatory sentence on for fleeing.


    and its worth (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Jen M on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 08:29:34 AM EST
    every innocent bystander that dies.

    Every person (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 09:07:27 AM EST
    as part of living in a civilized world can expect to take some risks to keep it that way. If people get killed as part of the police trying to capture some piece of trash who is fleeing, then rise up and prosecute the trash because the trash is the problem.

    sure enough you are on the side of pain and death. (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by Jen M on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 01:35:20 PM EST
    You are a bloodthirsty thing arent you.

    Fortunately many jurisdictions have intelligent rules about high speed pursuit. You know, the result of actual thinking.


    What I am is a gentleman.. (1.00 / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 04:54:09 PM EST

    If you consider that a position that says that citizens must be willing to take certain extremely slim chances as part of living in a democracy that is ruled by law, makes me a "thing" then you need to examine your own guidelines.


    Oh Im sorry (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by Jen M on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 04:58:02 PM EST
    I was refering to positions you take on other subjects as well, was that not clear?

    And torturers and torture supporters are things.


    hehe (1.00 / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 05, 2007 at 06:15:42 PM EST
    Since I oppose torture I wonder who you are speaking of...

    then (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jen M on Wed Dec 05, 2007 at 07:13:56 PM EST
    use semantics to justify it.

    If you could (1.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Patrick on Wed Dec 05, 2007 at 06:03:38 PM EST
    foresee which chases would end in a fatality then I would say of course not.  But in the end is not chasing better for society than chasing.  I say it's not an either/or proposition.  There has to be a balance, some say only felonies, some set other thresholds.  Of course one policy doesn't fit all situations.  Chasing for a misdemeanor in Downtown LA or through a school district isn't a particularly good idea.  However, the same chase down rural roads, or during late hours might be accomplished safely.   The point being, you have to train supervisors responsible for making the call and trust their judgement.  Immunity is one way to do that, and I think it's the right way.  Oh yeah, and put the blame where it ought to be..   The crook who's running.  A great use for the felony murder rule I would think.  

    Riddle you??? (1.00 / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 04:50:14 PM EST
    If you can't see that Jen was referring to Patrick's comment and I was asking her to show me where I said otherwise..

    Then let's don't get into riddles.


    chases (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 09:56:44 PM EST
    If word gets out on the street that the police won't chase you, any number of crooks will flee.  Some of these will be violent crooks, some will be drunks who hope to get away so they don't blow numbers.  They otherwise would have pulled over immediately.  Some of these people will have accidents or commit crimes because they weren't pulled over.  Some innocent bystanders will die in these accidents.  No one will put those stories on a website.
    The change in the law is that when someone dies in a chase the person being chased gets a manslaughter charge.  If that is swiftly and universally enforced then people will be more likely to pull over in the first place.

    i know this will come as a shock to you diogenes, (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by cpinva on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:28:01 AM EST
    but we have this new fangled thing called a "radio", which allows the police to call ahead, for additional help, and to set up roadblocks. as well, they can use this new device to call in a description of the vehicle and it's license plate. why, some police around here (va) have even started to use it to tell their HQ where they are!

    whatever will they think of next! we live in a wonderous age. i've heard rumors that someone is working on a "home movie theatre" kind of thing, in a lovely wood box, and those nice men, messrs. kodak & eastman, are working hard to reduce the size of photography equipment, so you can carry a camera with you, wherever you go.


    Bingo cp..... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 08:28:27 AM EST
    The radio, and other wonders of modern technology, should have rendered the high speed chase obsolete by now.

    Everybody will get caught eventually...what's the rush?


    Up a little late last night?? (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 08:29:41 AM EST
    Little tired?? Read the most. Follow the link.

    Dunlap tried to stop Ayscue using his lights and siren, but Ayscue drove off, and Dunlap pursued. (Listen to officer's radio traffic during the chase.)



    Radios? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Patrick on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 07:03:10 PM EST
    Yeah radios work sometimes, but you still have to follow/chase while others get into position.  Roadblocks are pretty much not used, if not illegal, and it's always nice to have a license plate, but that happens less than you would think.  Like you said, we've had all these things for quite some time, and for some reason they don't seem to be solving the problem either.  Nice try.  

    20/20 (none / 0) (#9)
    by TruthHurtzIndeed on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 02:20:17 PM EST
    Radio was used as is common practice. The US Supreme Court recognizes that officers are required to make decisions in tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances and should not be held to a standard dictated by 20/20 hindsight. I would suggest that projecting the blame for this incident on the police is misguided at best when the perpetrators in question willfully and wantonly decided that they were not going along peacefully and would force the hand of the law.