One innocent person was killed and three more critically injured when a high speed chase here in Westminster, Orange County, California ended tragically. Initially, police were called to the parking lot of an auto body shop with complaints of two men assaulting a third. When police arrived, the two suspects got into their pick-up truck and took-off.
During the police chase, the suspect’s vehicle reached speeds between 80 and 100 mile per hour on surface streets. The suspects then ran a red light and after that smashed head on into another truck and small car. The impact of the crash pushed the suspect’s truck about 100 yards down the street and it ended up on its side.
The man in the pick-up truck died immediately and the original two suspects as well as the person in the small car were taken to nearby hospital with critical injuries.
Unfortunately, high-speed chases are almost common place here in Southern California. Police chases are necessary to stop fleeing felons, but rules are in place to protect the public. It is always a balancing act between capturing the suspects and protecting the public. Unfortunately, fleeing felons do not care about the safety of the public. T
hat is why the penalty to them for fleeing must be so great that they care about their well being and likely prison term. Stiff sentences should be automatic, and heavy when fleeing law enforcement. Incarceration should not be in the general population pens where they can commune with other felons. Maybe it is time to review putting these people back onto “hard labor” chain gang work? Take the fun out of the escape by adding the back side payback, and you will reduce the fleeing suspect attempts.
As a Orange County personal injury attorney we see the devastation and destruction caused by these fleeing felons. It would be better to stop it before the attempted escape starts, rather than try to chase the felons “carefully.” I say throw the book at them.
James Ballidis is a Newport Beach accident attorney practicing in Orange County California.