A man from southern Mississippi says that he’s thankful he and his son are alive but has questions about the behavior of police officers in Biloxi who engaged in a high speed chase with a suspect that ultimately crashed into their vehicle. The injured man, Sabree Rashid, says he wonders whether the police are placing the public’s safety as a top priority given their decision to engage in the seemingly unnecessary high speed pursuit.
The incident began on a workday evening in Biloxi when Rashid was hit by a Ford F-150 traveling at approximately 75 miles per hour. Rashid said he only had seconds to react after noticing the approaching truck but was able to maneuver his car slightly, just enough so that the brunt of the impact was not borne by his son’s side of the car.
Police say the person who crashed into Rashid’s car was 28-year-old Kenneth Anderson who was wanted for felony fraud. It’s the crime that has Rashid perplexed by the police’s reaction. Rashid said a high speed chase might make sense in the case of an armed murderer or serial rapist, but for such extreme tactics to be employed in the case of someone who has only committed fraud has draw surprise among some residents of Biloxi.
Biloxi police have responded to these concerns by saying that Anderson was only pursued because he was already driving recklessly. Given how dangerously he was operating his vehicle, police felt that he had to be stopped to protect other members of the public. Police say that they put the safety of the public first and that engaging in such a dangerous chase is the last possible resort.
Biloxi police say that their training materials explain that pursuits are only authorized in certain circumstances given the chance that dangerous collisions like this one might take place. A spokesperson also noted that police procedures indicate that if officers believe the pursuit has become too much of a hazard to the public they are required to terminate the pursuit.
Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals just how deadly police chases can be for innocent individuals. One study which looked at data gathered of a nine-year period of time found that police chases over that span led to a total of 3,146 deaths. Of this total, a shocking 1,088 were to people not in the fleeing vehicle. That means that more than 1,000 innocent third parties died as a result of these police pursuits. The reason for the deadliness of such crashes is that police chases often occur at high speeds, at night and on dangerous local roads.
In this case, Anderson was apprehended after getting out of his seriously damaged F-150 and running away on foot. He’s now facing an array of charges on top of his existing felony fraud charge.
Source: “Gautier man hit during high speed chase questions police policy,” by Danielle Thomas, published at WLOX.com.
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