A North Florida man will spend the next 20 years behind bars for causing a fatal crash in Lake Butler while being pursued by deputies, according to a report in The Miami Herald. The 26-year-old was before a Union County judge recently and he received the sentence after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident with great bodily harm, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers. The original Florida car accident occurred last July when a deputy spotted the driver in Lake Butler and lit his emergency lights to pursue the driver, who sped away, ran a stop sign, and struck an SUV driven by a 23-year-old female, who died at the scene. Even though he ran from the crash because his license was suspended, the driver turned himself into troopers two days later.
Our condolences go out to the family of the young woman who died in this crash. The article does not say whether or not officers had probable cause to pursue this young man, which led to the chain reaction and a fatal outcome.
According to Pursuit Watch, a group formed after the death of an innocent bystander due to a police pursuit, 40 percent of all police car chases end in a collision, 1 percent result in death, and 20 percent in serious injury. On average, police chases kill at least three innocent bystanders each week. And the public is not the only one in danger. Once every 11 weeks, a police officer is killed in such a collision.
Even if someone has a suspended license, is driving a stolen vehicle, or had drugs or alcohol in their possession, many citizens and police agencies are re-evaluating whether that is worth the life of an innocent civilian. Some agencies have amended their pursuit policies to include pursuit only if there is a violent crime. Unfortunately, with about 70,000 police chases every year in the U.S., there is still no national database to track the outcomes.
The Florida car accident lawyers at the personal injury law firm of Farah & Farah suggest without that data and knowledge of the outcomes, it is difficult to control or amend a pursuit policy. Please contact our office if you have been injured in one of these actions. We may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries and medical care, as well as lost wages and pain and suffering.