Lights and sirens signal the average driver that it is time to pull over and cooperate with the long arm of the law, but then there are those with nothing left to lose and that notion is lost. In those cases, lights, sirens, and helicopters have little effect on the alleged criminal behind the wheel.
Most of the high speed pursuits end up on the freeways, highways, or major thoroughfares, not a small residential street in El Cajon, California, a small town east of San Diego. Alleged felon Josh Little led officers of the Sheriff’s department on a pursuit that ended when Little drove a Camaro through the side of a house. According to Fox 5 San Diego the felonious Camaro driver lost control of the car as he attempted to evade pursuing law enforcement and crashed into the bedroom of Tracy Gilbride.
Imagine the confusion and adrenaline surge as you awake from the sounds of law enforcement and late model Camaro crashing through your bedroom wall? Gilbride lived through this situation and, fortunately, was not injured during the collision, but things could have turned out differently. There are reasons that law enforcement participates in pursuits, but when these dangerous chases continue on residential streets bad things can happen.
While this case resulted only in property damage with no loss of life or physical injury, we’ve seen other instances that were far worse. In the Fox 5 San Diego article, Gilbride states “I don’t think they should have been chasing someone down a residential street.”
Had it been during the daytime the fleeing driver could have hit a small child, a family, or someone walking their pet. Law enforcement has a thankless job, but there are some instances where the potential for risk outweighs chasing down the bad guy.
With helicopters and radios, does law enforcement really need to engage in pursuits through residential neighborhoods? Is it worth the risk of injury or death to innocent bystanders? We want the bad guys caught, but the price for failure can be a bit extreme. What are your thoughts on this matter? Tell us in the comments section below.