Local News

Stop Stick Puts the Brakes on High-Speed Chases

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RALEIGH — June 14, 1996 - 11:30 a.m. EDT

State troopers are testing a new weapon to help put a stop to high speed chases. It is lightweight, can be deployed in seconds and is easy to use.

The "Stop Stick", as it's called, destroys tires, but aims to save lives.

A chase at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour on Highway 64 in February (pictured at right) ended with a crash that killed two people and injured three others. So, if the answer to saving lives is slowing down the chase, police think this could be the solution.

The Stop Stick is filled with tiny spikes embedded in styrofoam which will flatten tires when a car runs over them. Ken Greves (below, left) was an officer with the Indiana State Police for 26 years, and is the inventor of Stop Stick and president of the company. He told WRAL-TV5'sDebra Morganthat he's sold the product to agencies in all 50 states, and showed her how it works.

"Here comes the drunk, the criminal, whatever. [A police officer] pulls this in front of the guy and as soon as the bad guy hits it, [the officer] pulls everything out of the road so the police cars and the civilians won't hit it," said Greves.

In a demonstration, North Carolina State Trooper Tony Dudley (below, right) drove a car that was going 58 miles per hour when it hit the Stop Stick. Three tires went slowly flat. The car did not go out of control, but within a few seconds, it could not go over 35 miles per hour.

"Well at first, I couldn't tell any difference at all, and then shortly thereafter when it started going down I virtually had no steering control and it was just coming to a stop on its own," said Dudley.

"We've had criminals actually tell the police officers,'I don't know what that was I hit, but all I could do was slow up and pull over', and that's what we want," said Greves.

The commander of North Carolina's troopers, E.W. Horton (below, left), saw Stop Sticks at work for the Ohio State Police. He says he believes the Stop Stick will help take the danger out of high speed chases.

"We've had some good results and we've had some bad results in those chases and any time I think I can eliminate some of the bad results for the citizens of this state, that's what I'm out there for," said Horton.

So far, the Highway Patrol has ordered 100 sets of Stop Sticks at $300 apiece. Troopers in Wake, Durham, Johnston and Harnett counties will be trained to use them and will find them in their cars by next week

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