Road Pursuits: Oklahoma Highway Patrol Explains Benefits Versus Dangers

Friday, March 14th 2014, 5:42 pm
By: News On 6

In Oklahoma City on Thursday, we were able to show you dramatic footage of a law enforcement pursuit that ended when the man being chased crashed into innocent drivers at an intersection.

Some question why officers pursue people. Others wonder how they decide whether or not to call off a chase and what's the benefit versus the danger.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said pursuits are probably the most dangerous part of their job and they have and will terminate pursuits, but with things happening so fast, sometimes, no one can predict the ending.

3/14/2014 Related Story: NE OKC High-Speed Chase Suspect Identity Released

Officials said Monte Webb was going 70 mph in a 40-mph zone when a trooper tried to pull him over.

Webb decided to go faster and drive crazier and during the 5-mile chase, he reached speeds up to 120 mph, troopers said. Webb got on and off Interstate 35 several times, then exited near Bricktown and raced through a stoplight and slammed into three vehicles, including a squad car, troopers said.

"Obviously, if someone's running from law enforcement, they're running for a reason," OHP Capt. George Brown said.

Troopers said they aren't itching to get into a chase, but sometimes they are necessary, and there's a lengthy policy to govern them.

They can stop chasing altogether or use a number of things to make the chase safer, Brown said. Troopers use the helicopter so squad cars can back off. They throw stop sticks in the road to disable the suspect's car.

Officers race ahead to block off intersections or use a maneuver where troopers are trained to spin out a suspect.

But they say all of those can take time and time isn't always on their side.

"Things are moving sometimes moving in excess of 100 miles an hour so split second decision making comes into play," Brown said.

Some people wonder if all the damage to innocent citizens was worth chasing a guy who was simply speeding, but as it turns out, troopers said he was also driving under the influence of drugs, in somebody else's car, without a driver's license.

Troopers said to let a suspect go who could commit more crimes could be worse for citizens.

"Sometimes we jump up a pursuit, we don't know if we're dealing with someone who just killed somebody or a traffic offense," Brown said. "In any case, we hardly ever know what we're dealing with until we terminate the pursuit."

Troopers said they're thankful this suspect didn't kill anyone and top managers will review this pursuit, like they do all of them, to make sure it conformed to policy or if that policy needs to be revised.