Chase policy under scrutiny after deadly I-10 crash

Baldwin County
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BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — All pursuits by the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office are reviewed. There are strict protocols and policies that guide officers on whether to pursue or not pursue. The investigation into this chase is just beginning.

24 hours after a fiery crash on I-10 in Baldwin County and the names of some of those killed are still a mystery.  State troopers say it could be days or even weeks before positive identifications and notifications are made.  “We’re certainly remorseful and sorry for the loss of life that occurred yesterday for the victims and even the suspects even though they were the ones that caused this to happen,” says Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack.

The pursuit covered almost 15 miles from eastbound I-10 east of Loxley to the Wilcox Road exit—then westbound on I-10 to exit 49, off the interstate onto Baldwin Beach Express and then turning around and getting back on I-10 heading west.  About a mile and a half from the exit, the suspects did a U-turn on the interstate and headed into oncoming traffic.

“A vehicle can go from a convenience to a weapon in a matter of seconds,” says Mack.

Last year, the Sheriff’s Office made more than 14 thousand traffic stops, about 60 of them resulted in a chase.  Yesterday the deputy attempted to pull over the suspect car for erratic or reckless driving.  “Should you pursue and should you not pursue and the best answer that you can give is, it depends.”

Certain criteria go into making that decision; weather, traffic conditions, location.  Each pursuit by the Sheriff’s Office is monitored by a supervisor who can call it off at any time.  “We were thankful there was not a lot of traffic on the interstate yesterday. There was traffic, as there always is but it was not a congested form of traffic. In fact, the pursuit was relatively short.”

All of those factors are being considered in the investigation of this chase that the sheriff says was easily a worst-case scenario.


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