If you don’t know the details of the high speed police chase, they are as follows: A 44-year-old man driving a stolen car died in a two-car crash on Route 9H in Columbia County Friday that ended a failed high-speed bid to escape police, according to State Police. The Dutchess County man, whose name was not released by authorities, drove into the path of an oncoming southbound dump truck at about 2:19 p.m. and died at the scene, Senior Investigator Gary Mazzacano said. The truck driver, George Duryea, 33, of Nassau, escaped unharmed. Police said the chase started in Red Hook, where police had stopped a vehicle reported stolen from Millbrook earlier that day. (Times Union)
At the end we’re left with a 44-year-old man dead and another driver who barely escaped death when his truck was tossed off the road and turned on its side. Police are telling us the pursued was driving a stolen vehicle, but they’re not telling us anything more. It’s “reported” stolen. Sounds like a little butt-covering to me. The chase moved through twenty-plus miles in Columbia County, at times moving in excess of 100mph. Of course I don’t have to tell you how dangerous such a thing can be for so many other innocent drivers. So again I ask: what did this guy to warrant that kind of car chase?
He was driving a car that was reported stolen in Millbrook? That’s it? That’s what all this upheaval’s about? That’s why a man is dead and so many other innocent motorists are lucky to be alive and/or uninjured? 20 –plus miles? In excess of 100mph at times? Are you kidding me? He stole a car in Millbrook? I would call for that kind of chase, putting hundreds of lives at risk, if the Troopers were pursuing someone with reported ties to Al Qaeda, or maybe someone wanted for an armed robbery, or rape, or murder. But all this for a “reported” stolen car in freakin’ Millbrook?
The first job(s) of all law enforcement officials is to serve and protect citizens. Neither job was attended to in the midst of this mess. For reference 20 miles is roughly from Albany to Saratoga Springs, give or take. The fact that NYS Troopers chased this car that far--putting everyone in between at risk--for such a petty complaint is beyond belief. At what point is it up to law enforcement officials to recognize the bigger picture and back off?
I am not suggesting that someone who steals a car should get away with it, and I’m not claiming to have huge knowledge of police procedure. But, if I were the head of a police department at any level, I sure wouldn’t want to explain to someone why their innocent family member is dead because a car chase went wrong. That's just common sense, right? This isn’t Miami Vice or the movies. There has to be a point where police are taught to disengage or back off, hope to capture this guy, and the “reported” stolen car on the backend. 20-plus miles? In excess of 100mph at times? That just seems like too much risk to collar some low-leveler for a “reported” stolen car. I don't think police would shoot up a crowded theatre to take some pickpocket down, would they?
I'll admit I don't know the whole story. I only know what's been fit to print in the papers. But what else is there to know? Troopers chased the guy for 20-plus miles. Now he's dead and the "reported" stolen car has been returned, albeit totaled. There's been nothing about this guy's criminal past? Was he a notorious outlaw? Who was he?! In the end what was accomplished? What!? At this point we can be thankful that nobody else ended up dead from this wreck.