Local News

High-Speed Chases Becoming More of a Problem

Posted April 17, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Sometimes, just by doing their jobs, police can endanger themselves and put innocent bystanders at risk. But often, as in the case of a high-speed chase, their only alternative would be to let a suspect escape. There are tough choices to be made when such a situation arises.

In the Triangle, high-speed chases are becoming more of a problem. In the last two weeks in Cary alone there have been at least four such chases. That has legislators taking a look at penalties for those who try to escape when police are in pursuit.

Earlier this week, a man driving a stolen Lexus took police on a chase through Raleigh and Cary, forcing other vehicles off the road and causing several accidents. Currently, eluding police is only a misdemeanor for which the penalty is a fine and a revoked license.

Under a new proposal, it would become a class-A felony if the driver is going 15 mph above the posted speed limit or 80 mph. State Representative Leo Daughtry, North Carolina majority leader, co-sponsored the bill. He says such a change would send a strong message.

Major Ralph Price of the N.C. Highway Patrol says he supports anything that can be done to improve the situation.

Sub-committees in both N.C. houses were scheduled to debate the issue Thursday, but ran out of time. They will try again Tuesday.