Crash course: State Police chase teen over 100mph in urban area
When a BMW allegedly doing 67mph in a 45mph zone passed Trooper W.R. Floyd going northbound on Fifth Street around 3am July 3, the officer turned on his lights to pull over the culprit, the Daily Progress reports. But instead of pulling over, the pursued driver reportedly hits the pedal, speeds through a red light, turns right onto two-lane Elliott Avenue and onto Avon Street Extended at speeds at least 100mph, say police, before crashing around Arden Drive.
With Trooper Floyd still in hot pursuit, the driver flees on foot, so Floyd calls in a canine team and the Albemarle police to search, says Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
Remington Scott McConnell, 18, was arrested at his Keswick home and charged with possession of alcohol, felony eluding police, reckless driving, and running a red light. He was released on $3,500 bond, and he will be back in court August 19.
Although the State Police may be best known for patrolling Interstate highways in search of dry-pavement speeders, Trooper Floyd had a right to monitor traffic with radar inside the Charlottesville city limits, according to spokesperson Geller.
"The Virginia State Police have statewide authority and can patrol/investigate anywhere in the Commonwealth," Geller says in an email.
Geller declined to provide a mugshot of the arrestee or a dashcam video of the chase, the former because the state police don't have one and the latter because it's part of an investigation, although in the past Geller has noted that it is State Police policy to routinely refuse to release videos even when investigations are closed.
Geller says she doesn't know how fast Trooper Floyd was going. But asked whether a 100-mile-per-hour chase violates any policies for urban streets, Geller says that State Police high-speed chase policy is standard, whether on interstates or within city limits. She says that factors in the decision to pursue include the seriousness of the violator's offense and its relationship to community safety, as well as the time, location and weather, pursuit speed, and other available means of apprehension, such as obtaining an arrest warrant for identified perps.
Last summer, 17-year-old Tsaye Simpson drove 85mph down Rugby Road with a Charlottesville officer in pursuit, and crashed into the roof of an occupied house at the end of Rugby. The incident provoked controversy because it took place along a residential street and appeared to violate a City policy.
In recent years, police pursuits have come under increased scrutiny, particularly because of the deadly toll they take on innocent bystanders, about three a week, according to watchdog group PursuitSafety. In January, the 39-year-old editor of the award-winning film The Fog of War died when struck by a fleeing van in New York. In March, a 44-year-old Richmond preacher died when hit by a police-pursued vehicle.
Pursuit supporters allege that if police don't chase, criminals will get away and that overall criminal activity may increase.