High speed chase scenes may be exciting to watch on a movie screen, but in real life, they can be incredibly dangerous and life threatening. Many communities in Kentucky have rules that govern when a high speed pursuit is permitted and under what conditions the pursuit may continue. These rules may have been violated in a recent pursuit in Louisville and may have exposed the department to civil liability.
A 13-year-old who had become a spokesman against gun violence after surviving being hit by a stray bullet died in a crash that may have resulted from a high speed police chase. He had gone skating with friends the night of the crash. There were five people in the SUV that was reported stolen and was the target of the police chase. It is not known how the 13-year-old came to be in the SUV. The family of the boy who died has filed a wrongful death suit against the department.
The Louisville Police Department has very strict rules governing high speed chases. According to department policy, the pursuit is permissible only if the driver being pursued is believed to have been involved in a violent felony, and even then, the pursuit must be approved by a commanding officer. The family's lawsuit alleges that the pursuing officer rammed into the SUV with such force that it caused the SUV to flip and land in a ditch, killing the 13-year-old and injuring the others. The lawsuit is seeking financial damages and a jury trial.
High speed police chases are dangerous. Anyone who has been driving for any length of time has experienced the sound of sirens approaching from a distance and the uncertainty caused by not knowing where they're coming from. The ensuing chaos as vehicles attempt to get out of the way can cause serious accidents. Indeed, this is why high speed chases are so carefully regulated by police departments in Kentucky. A person involved in a similar situation may wish to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney to determine if a civil liability suit is a viable option.