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Driver struck, killed by suspect fleeing police in suburban St. Louis

A driver in suburban St. Louis was killed early Wednesday in a crash caused by another driver fleeing from police, authorities said.

The accident happened amid growing concerns in the St. Louis region about the dangers of police pursuits, and it follows a national report in September that urged caution in pursuits.

Police in Ferguson said an officer spotted a speeding vehicle at 4:22 a.m. The driver refused to pull over and two minutes later, the officer saw the same vehicle being driven erratically, police said. The officer turned on the squad car’s lights and siren in an attempt to make a traffic stop.

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The car didn’t stop and struck another car a few minutes later, police said. The driver of the vehicle that was evading police ran but was later arrested. The driver of the vehicle that was struck died at the scene.

Ferguson Police Chief Troy Doyle said the department will review body camera and dashboard camera footage to determine “if any policy violations occurred during this incident.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol also is investigating the accident. As of midday, no charges had been filed against the fleeing driver.

At least 13 people have been killed during police chases in the St. Louis area in the past year and a half, including several victims not involved in the pursuits, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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The NAACP last year called in a federal mediator to facilitate discussions between the organization and St. Louis city and county police departments toward a goal of setting parameters for when police chases are warranted, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, a report released in September by the Police Executive Research Forum, a national think tank on policing standards, called for police not to start a pursuit unless a violent crime has been committed and the suspect poses an imminent threat.

The study followed a spike in fatalities from police chases during the COVID-19 pandemic and the criticism of several police departments for the increased use of pursuits, including in Houston and New York City.

The report, produced by a committee of experts and policing executives, says police chases should be rare, noting that the danger to suspects, officers and bystanders often outweighs the immediate need to take someone into custody.

Read the full article here

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