VIDEO: The Long Chase- Police pursuits can lead to fiery crashes

Published on Sunday, 6 April 2014 00:02 - Written by Kenneth Dean kdean@tylerpaper.com

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Sirens wailing, white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, a heightened awareness of the surroundings due to the adrenaline coursing through the bloodstream, all while the officer is hoping, and in many cases praying, the pursuit will end without a loss of life.

But occasionally a chase ends with loss of life as in the case of 40-year-old Robert Dwayne Green who ran from Upshur County Sheriff deputies on Aug. 13, 2012.

Green slammed into a concrete bridge pillar after leading deputies on a late night chase from Big Sandy to Gilmer up Texas Highway 155 at speeds greater than 100 mph.

Green’s car burst into flames and deputies, Gilmer police and Department of Public Safety troopers extinguished the fire, but Green’s injuries were too severe.

The video obtained by the Tyler Morning Telegraph through an Open Records request, shows Green initially pulling over for a deputy for speeding, but before the deputy could exit his patrol car, Green sped away.

The chase ended with the crash.

Smith County Precinct 4 Constable John Smith has been in almost 20 pursuits in the course of his career in law enforcement.

Smith, a former Smith County Sheriff’s deputy, worked the Interstate 20 corridor for years as an interdiction officer looking for illegal narcotics, guns and cash.

“Most of my chases involved people with drugs or wanted on felony warrants and most of my pursuits ended with the bad guy crashing out. I have only used a pit maneuver (a maneuver to cause a car to lose control) once,” he said.

Smith said the seriousness of the offense the person is wanted for causes the intensity to increase.

“Your adrenaline starts pumping for one thing. You are more aware of your surroundings and your senses are heightened. It is definitely heart-pounding,” he said.

Records obtained by the Telegraph show that Longview Police lead the area with chases.

In 2012, the Longview Police Department conducted 24 pursuits with eight ending in crashes, and in 2013 there were 22 pursuits with six ending in crashes.

Records show Tyler police conducted six pursuits in 2012 and three in 2013 with no crashes.

Smith County Sheriff’s Office has been in 12 chases since Larry Smith took office on Jan. 1, 2013. Only one of those chases ended in a crash.

Tyler Police Public Information Officer Don Martin said his department has a strict policy on pursuits and public safety is the No. 1 priority.

Smith County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeremy Black agreed with public safety as being a condition of a chase.

“It does come down to “when do the risks outweigh capturing the person?” he said. “There is so much that goes on during a pursuit in your own mind. You go through all kinds of scenarios of the pursuit and if it is worth the risks.”

Black and Martin both said when a person has committed a serious crime, such as murder, kidnapping or aggravated assault, the public’s safety is at risk because the person has hurt another.

One example was the Feb. 24, 2005 Smith County Courthouse shooting which has been seen by TV and Internet viewers all across the world.

David Arroyo Sr., shot and killed his wife, a resident and shot several law officers, and even his son, on the back steps of the courthouse apparently due to a custody battle.

As Arroyo left the area in his pickup, officers followed and Constable Smith passed many officers and rammed into the back of Arroyo’s pickup truck, fired all 15 rounds of his service weapon into the back glass of the truck, which caused Arroyo to stop and get out and shoot at Smith.

While Arroyo’s attention was drawn to Smith, Tyler SWAT Lt. Rusty Jacks fired two rounds killing the gunman and ending the situation.

“In the Arroyo case, it wasn’t really a chase, because he was engaging us and not trying to flee. I just rammed him because I didn’t want to be beside him. He tried to shoot me while he was steering,” Smith said.

In the Green case, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office said the chase was validated. Other law enforcement officials said at the time Green was seen throwing something out of his windows as he sped toward Gilmer.

An April 4, 2013 chase in Cherokee County resulted in Jennifer Cross, 33, being convicted on three counts of evading detention with a vehicle, a third-degree felony.

 

 

irens wailing, white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, a heightened awareness of the surroundings due to the adrenaline coursing through the bloodstream, all while the officer is hoping, and in many cases praying, the pursuit will end without a loss of life. 

But occasionally a chase ends with loss of life as in the case of 40-year-old Robert Dwayne Green who ran from Upshur County Sheriff deputies on Aug. 13, 2012.

Green slammed into a concrete bridge pillar after leading deputies on a late night chase from Big Sandy to Gilmer up Texas Highway 155 at speeds greater than 100 mph.

Green’s car burst into flames and deputies, Gilmer police and Department of Public Safety troopers extinguished the fire, but Green’s injuries were too severe. 

The video obtained by the Tyler Morning Telegraph through an Open Records request, shows Green initially pulling over for a deputy for speeding, but before the  deputy could exit his patrol car, Green sped away. 

The chase ended with the crash.

Smith County Precinct 4 Constable John Smith has been in almost 20 pursuits in the course of his career in law enforcement. 

Smith, a former Smith County Sheriff’s deputy, worked the Interstate 20 corridor for years as an interdiction officer looking for illegal narcotics, guns and cash.

“Most of my chases involved people with drugs or wanted on felony warrants and most of my pursuits ended with the bad guy crashing out. I have only used a pit maneuver (a maneuver to cause a car to lose control) once,” he said. 

Smith said the seriousness of the offense the person is wanted for causes the intensity to increase. 

“Your adrenaline starts pumping for one thing. You are more aware of your surroundings and your senses are heightened. It is definitely heart-pounding,” he said. 

Records obtained by the Telegraph show that Longview Police lead the area with chases. 

In 2012, the Longview Police Department conducted 24 pursuits with eight ending in crashes, and in 2013 there were 22 pursuits with six ending in crashes. 

Records show Tyler police conducted six pursuits in 2012 and three in 2013 with no crashes. 

Smith County Sheriff’s Office has been in 12 chases since Larry Smith took office on Jan. 1, 2013. Only one of those chases ended in a crash. 

Tyler Police Public Information Officer Don Martin said his department has a strict policy on pursuits and public safety is the No. 1 priority.

Smith County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeremy Black agreed with public safety as being a condition of a chase. 

“It does come down to “when do the risks outweigh capturing the person?” he said. “There is so much that goes on during a pursuit in your own mind. You go through all kinds of scenarios of the pursuit and if it is worth the risks.”

Black and Martin both said when a person has committed a serious crime, such as murder, kidnapping or aggravated assault, the public’s safety is at risk because the person has hurt another. 

One example was the Feb. 24, 2005 Smith County Courthouse shooting which has been seen by TV and Internet viewers all across the world.

David Arroyo Sr., shot and killed his wife, a resident and shot several law officers, and even his son, on the back steps of the courthouse apparently due to a custody battle.

As Arroyo left the area in his pickup, officers followed and Constable Smith passed many officers and rammed into the back of Arroyo’s pickup truck, fired all 15 rounds of his service weapon into the back glass of the truck, which caused Arroyo to stop and get out and shoot at Smith.

While Arroyo’s attention was drawn to Smith, Tyler SWAT Lt. Rusty Jacks fired two rounds killing the gunman and ending the situation. 

“In the Arroyo case, it wasn’t really a chase, because he was engaging us and not trying to flee. I just rammed him because I didn’t want to be beside him. He tried to shoot me while he was steering,” Smith said.

In the Green case, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office said the chase was validated. Other law enforcement officials said at the time Green was seen throwing something out of his windows as he sped toward Gilmer. 

An April 4, 2013 chase in Cherokee County resulted in Jennifer Cross, 33, being convicted on three counts of evading detention with a vehicle, a third-degree felony.