Troopers advise caution, balance safety during chases

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  They may make for good television, but police chases are anything but entertainment, putting the lives of officers and other drivers at risk.

"A lot of times, these people will do anything to evade arrest," explained Sergeant Steve Jarrett with the Department of Public Safety.

Troopers filed attempted murder charges against a Hueytown man who drove against traffic on Interstate 65 this weekend, allegedly drunk at the wheel.

"It was very scary, very dangerous.  Dangerous to everybody on the road. Dangerous to the troopers involved," Jarrett said.

In this case, no one was hurt, but police pursuits can be deadly.  Troopers say knowing when to break off a pursuit is a tricky science.

"Basically, when the danger to the public and the trooper outweighs the benefit of apprehending the violator, that's when the pursuit is terminated," Jarrett explained.

Drivers are also at risk--sometimes thrust into the middle of the action.

"The best advice I can give is to move out of the way as safely and as quickly as possible," Jarrett advised.

"Usually, I get away from them. I try to get to the shoulder and hope the police get them before they get me," said Honor Treadaway of Montgomery.

While pulling over to the side of the road may be the safest thing to do, you don't always have that option, especially in heavy traffic--or worse--when cars are speeding toward you.

In those situations, what you decide in just moments could mean the difference between life and death.

"There's not a lot of time for reaction," Jarrett said.

Troopers say evading a law enforcement officer is a felony and isn't worth the risk.

The man involved in last weekend's chase now faces a number of charges for his run-in with state troopers.

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