Every week police chase crashes kill innocent bystanders

Every day these crashes injure innocent bystanders. Many suffer from life-altering injuries

“Every pursuit has the potential to end in a deadly crash. While the first cause falls squarely on the drivers who flee, we can no longer justify pursuit fatalities or injuries by simply saying, ‘If the drivers had not fled, these innocent victims would not have been killed or injured.’” —Candy Priano, Founder, Victim Services Director, PursuitSAFETY

Please send stories & pictures of your loved one(s) killed or injured due to a police pursuit crash to Candy Priano at candypriano@kristieslaw.org.
Kristie's Law and PursuitSAFETY.org will remember your loved one(s).

Click on any state or country. We encourage you to send us your story.

USA map of innocent victims of pursuit Maryland Michigan New Jersey

This public safety issue is worldwide.



United Kingdom

"Catching Up," "Following," and "Pursuing"

Law enforcement officials use "catching up," "following," and "pursuing" to justify chases that kill and injure innocent bystanders. The physical chase lasts an average of 2.5 minutes, and it's estimated that at least a third of the time these chases end in crashes. These officials can and do say to the media, and through them to us, these statements:

• "The pursuit just got started or just ended."

• "We were not chasing; we were 'following' or 'catching up' to the suspect."

• "The pursuit was not high-speed." If the pursuit was not high-speed that means low-speed chases kill?

• "We were backing off."

• Officers back off when they turn off their lights and sirens, turn around, and drive away in the opposite direction of the suspect. Backing off is most successful when it is done immediately. It is too late to back off when the pursuit is approaching a school zone, begins on busy streets, or the known driver is a flight risk, e.g., parolee, car thief. When officers follow (even at a low speed) the drivers believe they are still being pursued ... and they are being pursued.

• Popular links: "Catch and Release" and "Police Chases that Weren't."

Another Reality: Pursuits begin before the physical chase, as evidenced by 3-year-old Talmin's story.

“Think about this...
Nationally, we say about one-third of our police pursuits conclude in a collision. You tell me another law enforcement activity where one-third of the time it goes bad and they continue to do it. [... A] chase is one of the few times when police officers will knowingly put the lives of innocent civilians at risk.” 
—Capt. Travis Yates, Tulsa, OK, Police Department and policedriving.com, August 3, 2008

Source: The Bureau of Justice Statistics is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. For state data, the report used pursuit-related fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTA), which uses the Fatality Analysis Reporting System*, 1996–2015, released May 9, 2017.
*The Fatality Analysis Reporting System receives data on pursuit deaths at the discretion of law enforcement officials.
The FBI reported in 2002: "The lack of a mandatory reporting system hampers attempts by NHTSA to track pursuit fatalities and results in the collection of as little as one-half of the actual data. Typically, only 90 percent of states report pursuit fatality data to NHTSA. By extrapolating the 5-year totals to include 100 percent reporting, calculations would show an average of 375 deaths per year. Even conservative estimates The reporting of pursuit fatalities is not mandatory and there is no government oversight."