February 10, 2015- Richmond, VA
Police pursuit of a suspect driving a red SUV ended in a collision at the intersection of Overbrook and Miller Roads, by Battery Park in Richmond.
The chase began on Chamberlayne Avenue in Henrico, where the suspect was initially able to elude police. The driver then sped the wrong way down Miller Road, a one-way street, before crashing into a silver Kia driving down Overbrook Road.
The driver of the silver Kia was forced into the brick wall of a nearby church and sustained non-life threatening injuries. The suspect ultimately ran over a fire hydrant, bringing the chase to an end. Charges are pending per the outcome of police investigation.
In Virginia, it is illegal to ignore visible and/or audible signal from any law enforcement officer to bring their motor vehicle to a stop. Drivers who fail to bring their motor vehicle to a stop and/or attempt to escape or elude police are guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. If a driver’s attempt to escape or elude interferes with or endangers either law enforcement or innocent bystanders, the driver is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
Police pursuits are a perfect storm of danger and unpredictability – desperate suspects, multiple high-speed vehicles, and a largely unsuspecting public. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 40% of police chases end in traffic accidents like the one described here. Victims of these accidents are often left facing injury and property damage through no fault of their own.
While police officers involved in suspect pursuits are exempt from traffic regulations such as speeding, relevant signage, and passing, the fleeing suspect may still be held civilly liable for the injuries suffered by innocent bystanders.
Generally, drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists. When drivers in a high-speed chase fail to comply with police officers, they breach this duty of care and can be held liable for resulting injuries. Those who are injured as a result of a police chase should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure thorough investigation and aggressive representation.