(StraightNews.org) – Two children died, and four other people were injured, after a car overturned during a high-speed police chase in Wisconsin. The tragedy happened in Waukesha County when a driver fled a traffic stop at high speed and was pursued by two law enforcement officers. The 29-year-old driver and his girlfriend, as well as a 6-year-old and a 14-year-old, were taken to hospital, but two 10-year-old boys died at the scene.
At a subsequent press conference, Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson said his deputies were not in sight of the car when the crash happened, and his officers had acted within the law. “It appears that we have no evidence to believe that laws were violated on behalf of the sheriff’s deputies involved or policies,” he said.
The driver, who has not been named, is believed to have fled the scene because of an active warrant for his arrest concerning illegal firearms possession. He will likely face several further charges when he recovers.
Statistics show that thousands of people have died during police pursuits since the 1970s, and these are among the most dangerous aspects of law enforcement. In 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 532 died in police chases the previous year, and a USA Today analysis claimed 5,000 have been killed since 1979.
Some states and cities restrict high-speed pursuit, with Cincinnati becoming the latest to do so last year. The Cincinnati Police Department announced in March that officers could only chase suspects in vehicles if they were wanted for felony offenses. Atlanta PD introduced the same policy in 2021, and in Chicago, chases are restricted for traffic or theft offenses.
Lawsuits related to deadly car chases cost cities millions of dollars. In 2022, the city of Portsmouth in Virginia paid $11 million in a settlement following a fatal crash, and in Chicago, a mother received $1.4 million in compensation when a police car hit her child during a high-speed pursuit.
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