An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — High-speed chases provided enough excitement and comedy to fill three Smokey and the Bandit movies, but in real life, these pursuits are no laughing matter.
Hundreds of people – mostly those fleeing and innocent bystanders – are killed every year in police chases, and some law enforcement agencies now take a more restrictive approach to pursuits.
The Tri-State was reminded of the dangers last week when a Hanging Rock, Ohio, police officer began pursuit of a speeding Ford Explorer on June 28. A 20-mile chase followed, reaching speeds of 110 miles per hour, as the driver fled along U.S. 52 toward Chesapeake, Ohio.
As the vehicle reached the exit ramp to Huntington’s West 17th Street bridge at an estimated speed of 106 mph, the Explorer left the roadway, traveling about 160 feet through the air before hitting a utility pole and crashing into an embankment.
Killed were the 20-year-old driver Kimoni C. Davis of Detroit and his 17-year-old passenger Airshaan D. Warren of Nitro, West Virginia. Investigators have not determined why they sped away from police, but a search of the vehicle turned up no weapons or drugs.
Many questions remain, but the case is not unlike those that have raised concerns elsewhere…