MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Two police chases in one day. Three men arrested in each.
A new law went into effect Sept. 1, making the driver’s punishment harsher.
The first chase happened Thursday morning. Three teenagers were arrested after they led police from Theodore to Toulminville.
Police say the 16-year-old driver from New Orleans was charged with a felony for attempting to elude. Last month, the charge would have been a misdemeanor.
The second police chase ended at Dog River Park where families were enjoying movie night. Police said during that incident, two guns were thrown out of the window of the car. MPD arrested three men in that chase as well.
These separate chases are two of many.
This year alone, we counted more than 40 attempting to elude charges in Mobile. A number that has grown in the last year.
“22 compared to 21, we had some 200 vehicle pursuits compared to 111 in 2021,” Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine said. “However, the year before in 2020, we had roughly 160 vehicle pursuits so vehicle pursuits are much like the crime rate, up and down from time to time.”
Chief Prine said although the city has seen a spike in car chases, he’s hopeful this new law will halt the pursuits.
“This enhancement law is going to be a deterrence for would-be criminals or anybody who refuses to heed lights and sirens,” Prine said.
If you cross state lines, drive 20 miles over the legal speed limit, crash into something or injure someone during a police chase, you could be charged with a felony.
State Representative Ginny Shaver (R-Leesburg) sponsored the bill. She said the law needed to be changed.
“It’s a public risk, it puts the public in danger and also law enforcement and the offenders themselves,” Shaver said. “With it being a misdemeanor, you know, it’s basically just a slap on the wrist, and so offenders are willing to take that risk to have a chance to try to escape capture and escape being stopped by the police. So with it being a felony, I hope they’ll think twice and not take that risk.”
Since the law went into effect, WKRG News 5 has counted at least 4 people charged with felony attempting to elude in Mobile.