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Police chase deaths reach record highs in the US, new data shows

In 2022, there were 577 deaths during police pursuits nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Police chase deaths reach record highs in the US new data shows
Posted at 3:51 PM, Apr 19, 2024

From TV's "Law and Order: SVU" to O.J.'s infamous white Bronco chase, Americans have been watching police chases for years. But federal data shows more people were killed in 2022 in police pursuits than during any year on record.

There were 577 deaths nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's a 40% jump compared to 2019.

"It's 577 too many," according to Daryl Washington. 

Washington is representing the family of Andre Craig, a 57-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, man who was killed during a high-speed police chase.

"Andre wasn't doing anything wrong. I mean, Andre was driving and he was abiding by the laws, it was the officer who violated the law," Washington said. 

Craig was not involved in the chase — a Fort Worth police officer ran a red light in pursuit of a stolen vehicle and collided with Craig's car.

Washington has filed a wrongful death suit in reaction to the accident, but he says he still doesn't have access to Fort Worth's full pursuit policy.

The Fort Worth PD is fighting in court to keep parts of the policy under wraps, claiming that releasing it could give criminals an upper hand.

Washington says, "The excuses and the justifications that they're giving is deflection, I think they don't want to come out and say, 'You know what, the way we've been doing this is bad.'"

The policies for police pursuits vary from department to department, but in a new report the Police Executive Research Forum says chases should be "rare" and only used for a "limited and serious set of circumstances."

Washington agrees.

"It should be life or death," he said. "If we talk about a stolen vehicle, that's not worth somebody's life, because that's gonna get replaced, or that car is going to be found. We can't ever bring somebody's life back."

Fort Worth police told Scripps News in an email they have wrapped up their investigation into the incident and will be submitting their findings to the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office "in short order."

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