OKC Area Police Chases Cause 5 Fatalities

Tuesday, December 13th 2005, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A man who jumped from a freeway overpass has become the fifth person to die after being chased by law enforcement officers in the Oklahoma City area in recent weeks.

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty has called for more training and better review of police chases.

Donny Tannehill, 31, led police on a chase at 9 PM Monday when he refused to stop when an Oklahoma County sheriff's deputy tried to pull him over for a broken taillight, authorities said. A pursuing trooper forced Tannehill's car into a retaining wall on the Interstate 40 overpass over Interstate 35 and he jumped over the bridge railing when he was approached by a police dog. The police dog jumped off the bridge as it was pursuing him.

Tannehill died at a local hospital. He became the fifth person to die after police chases in the Oklahoma City area over the last two months. The dog was being cared for by a veterinarian.

A passenger in Tannehill's car was arrested. The two had been smoking crack cocaine and drinking beer, police said.

Early Monday, another person died after a police chase involving a woman who was speeding in southeast Oklahoma City.

Deanna Marie Showalter refused to stop when police tried to pull her over. She turned her lights off during the chase before hitting a curb and crashing into an electrical box. Showalter, 39, was thrown from the wreckage and died at the scene, police said.

Showalter was wanted by the Rock Island County, Ill., Sheriff's Office and was considered armed and dangerous, police said.

The string of police chases that have ended in fatalities has led the police chief to focus on improved officer training and better analysis of chases that do occur.

``I think we need better follow-up review of our pursuits,'' said Citty. ``Our review of use of force is, in my opinion, one of the strictest in the country, but our follow-up on the pursuits is not what it should be.''