Local News

Family wants law changed after man killed in high-speed chase

Posted July 17, 2018 12:47 p.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2018 5:41 p.m. EDT

— The family of a Moore County man who died last month in a crash following a high-speed chase with a state trooper wants such chases outlawed.

Investigators say 22-year-old Shonquelle Barrett tried to avoid a Booze It and Lose it checkpoint on Morganton Road on June 29. When a State Highway Patrol trooper tried to stop him, Barrett lost control of his car and slammed into a tree.

Now, Barrett's family is taking the first step in proposing a new law to prohibit high-speed police chases. They want it to be called "Shonquelle's Law."

Barrett's family held a protest at a Division of Motor Vehicles office in Aberdeen on Tuesday to display their passion for the cause.

"I'm angry," said Charlene Ross, Barrett's mother. "I think this will help me, once I get some answers and I have better understanding, a little bit more closure. When I lie down, when I am in silence, I hear his voice. I hear that noise. I hear that crash."

Officials with the Highway Patrol say Barrett turned around at a police checkpoint and drove away from the scene. The chase ended when a trooper used a "PIT maneuver," a tactic police use to stop a fleeing car. Speeds during the pursuit ranged from 60 to 80 mph, according to reports.

Ross said she was on the phone with her son as he was being chased and was trying to persuade him to pull over.

"The conversation plays over and over in my mind. I know that he was in the process of pulling over," she said. "He had some things against him – his tag was out, insurance was out on the car, license revoked. He was scared."

Ross acknowledges that her son was driving illegally, but she still believes the trooper went too far in chasing him.

"I think it was careless and reckless. I think they could have taken another approach," she said.

The State Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the incident, which is standard protocol when a law enforcement officer is involved in the death of someone.

Barrett was the grandson of Ulysses Barrett Jr., the mayor of Taylortown.