Very often, police have to engage in chases to catch people who have committed any number of crimes. While police generally take steps to ensure that the public is not endangered in such cases, tragedies have been known to happen. Many times, it is the suspect vehicle slamming into the vehicle of innocent bystanders. However, sometimes, it is the police that end up in an accident. When this does happen, police departments are usually called upon to review and, at times, revise their policies concerning pursuing suspects.
WSB Radio reports on the new policies South Fulton Police have adopted after a fatal chase claimed the lives of three men.
After a South Fulton police officer plowed into a work van while chasing a stolen vehicle, the South Fulton police department has revised their policies on when an officer can engage in a chase.
One of those changes is that officers are no longer allowed to chase a stolen car simply because it is stolen.
At the time of the accident, the patrol officer said that he had his lights and siren on, which is in adherence with the policy. However, the policy also states that even in a chase, officers must obey traffic signs and lights.
Gilmar Gomez-Lopez, 25, the driver of the van, said that the officer ran the red light and plowed into the van as he was making a left turn.
Gomez-Lopez and two of his passengers were injured. Three other passengers in the vehicle were killed when the van caught fire.
Other than the stolen vehicle, what initiated the chase is unclear. The initial crash report says that the men in the Mercedes Benz the officer was chasing may have stolen a woman’s cell phone.
Whether or not the officer is disciplined for his role in the pursuit will depend on the outcome of the Georgia State Patrol’s investigation, which is still ongoing.
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