Head-On Crash Driver Couldn’t be Stopped by Cops Because of New Laws
It didn't happen here, but this story is spreading like one of our brushfires across the state.
The Washington State Patrol says they were forced to terminate pursuit of a wrong-way driver, who a short time later was involved in a head-on crash Thursday on I-5 near Everett.
According to a report on Twitter by Trooper Rocky Oliphant, the wayward driver was being followed by Officers because they were driving erratically.
The driver refused to stop for the Trooper, then continued onto the southbound I-5 on-ramp. Then, they turned their car around on the ramp and began driving in the wrong direction.
They eventually slammed head-on into another vehicle. Fortunately, the victim driver only suffered minor injuries.
Troopers said they were forced to terminate their pursuit just prior to the head-on crash because of new laws that passed the legislature.
One of the 12-plus bills that were passed, House Bill 1054, limits (among other things) law enforcement's ability to pursue suspects while driving. Officers now cannot pursue a suspect in a vehicle unless there is probable cause that the person has committed or is committing a violent act or sex offense; or unless the Officer has reasonable suspicion the driver is under the influence.
In that last case, they would have to see the person, for example, actually drinking alcohol from a bottle or can behind the wheel.
Had the WSP Trooper been able to continue pursuit there's no guarantee the crash would not have happened. But if the person refused to stop, like this driver did, under previous conditions, the Officer would have received backup to likely box in the car and bring the situation under control prior to the accident.
Under these new laws, they had to turn off the lights, back off and just watch the motorist speed away in the wrong direction.
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