Local News

Highway Patrol trains troopers for high speed pursuits

Posted July 31, 2008
Updated August 1, 2008

— High speed pursuits are one of the most dangerous parts of law enforcement. To keep law enforcement officials prepared, the N.C. Highway Patrol trains officers on one of the best closed tracks in the country.

Highway Patrol Sgt. Ricky Stallings said officers can exceed 100 mph on the 85 acre track.

The track provides prospective troopers with a place to learn the skills needed to make a split second decision to begin or end a high speed chase.

“It’s one of the most dangerous things that an officer or trooper will be involved in, when they engaged in a pursuit,” Highway Patrol Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

Highway Patrol officials said officers are more likely to die in a crash than by gunfire.

“I’m sure most citizens think troopers or other law enforcement officers enjoy these types of speed pursuits because of how TV has sensationalized it. Most of them will tell you, they don’t,” Clendenin said.

About half of the time there is a collision involved in a chase, Clendenin said. He said most collisions do not result in a fatality.

Stallings said officers begin a chase never thinking something bad is going to happen. The focus is getting the vehicle stopped and bringing the person to jail, he said.

Lindsay Lunsford, 18, and her sister, Maggie, 9, were killed Dec. 1 when Christopher Ayscue, who was fleeing police, hit their car head on in Granville County. Ayscue, 38, also died.

The Lunsford family is suing Officer Michael Dunlap, as well as Franklinton Police Lt. John Green, Chief Ray Gilliam, the town of Franklinton and Ayscue’s estate.

Investigators said Dunlap chased Ayscue at speeds reaching 90 mph in a 55 mph zone. The lawsuit states that he was reached speeds of up to 103 mph during the 15-mile chase from Franklinton to Creedmoor.

The state Highway Patrol trains officers from jurisdictions around the state and around the country. They also provide training for the military, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service.


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  • gotitmadecij Aug 1, 2008

    ifc.... yup officer was speeding to beat you to the sammich...yup officer was on cell phone to tell the rest of the troops that you were gettin a sammich....its all about you and your life

  • leo-nc Aug 1, 2008

    IFC I'm just curious. What has happened in your life to make you so angry at everyone and everything? I'm not trying to be mean here, but you remind me of someone I'd be afraid to fire because once it was done, I would be expecting you to come back with bombs and high powered rifles.

  • veyor Aug 1, 2008

    If there was a mandatory 5 year prison sentence if a person would run then they would probably be worth chasing. Society and people individually work from fear. The creeps are't afraid anymore. We need more jail space. That said, it takes more wisdom and restraint than a young man just entering the force usually has, to make some very difficult decisions that officers have to spontaneously make.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Aug 1, 2008

    ...wahhhhho! We get to play RACECAR!

  • mylilchev350 Aug 1, 2008

    If it was 15-20 years ago, many folks would not run, they knew better, HP had the reputation of splitting someones noggin, the bad guys knew that. We all live in a different world now, good ole days are gone.

  • ifcdirector Aug 1, 2008

    So that makes it ok for them to speed to dinner too because they are keeping up with me. I do have to admit that one Raleigh K-9 officer did pass me once doing about 70 in a 45 zone and turned left on a red light across Hwy 70 and I only found him in line in front of me ordering a chicken sandwich so I guess you are right. Oh and he was on his cell phone too so speeding excessively, without lights and siren, while talking on your cell phone is not strictly the province of the Highway Patrol. Sorry if my brush did not cover a wider swath and equally touch a nerve of the law enforcement can do no wrong cult members. I will just be glad when we pass the no talking on the cell phone while driving laws but then again they are just laws too and breaking them is of no consequence I guess when you are supposed to be enforcing them right? Unreal.

  • lizard Aug 1, 2008

    ifc- they drive w/o lights and siren to keep up with people like you.

  • roadtrash Aug 1, 2008

    You almost disappointed me. Nearly 2 pages of postings before you complained about the police.
    Can I join your complaint club? I hate puppies, old people, kids, rainbows, smiles, laughter, compliments, encouragement, personal responsibility, and friendship. Send me an application and I'll fill it out. Then we can sit around and complain about everything together.

  • n2justice Aug 1, 2008

    "I don't feel like a cowboy. I never enjoyed high speed pursuits. Yes, we do have technology just like everyone else does. Not enough to stop the need for pursuing a suspect. If you want to appease the criminals, you should go to another country. Everything we do is incorrect according to most people in the public yet those very same people lack the stones to do it themselves and make "a change" that they so desperately cry for. In other words, leave it to the shepherds to protect the sheep that you are."

    I totally agree with leo-nc.

  • ifcdirector Aug 1, 2008

    Why use a track when they get so much experience speeding down highways without the benefit to the public of using their lights and sirens. I wonder if they have a "Slalom While On Your Cell Phone" section? It's great to learn to drive well but it's also great to set a good example to the motoring public by following the laws you are supposed to be enforcing as well.