Authorities seek help for Chico man hurt in police chase

by Greg Welter - staff writer
July 20, 2004

YUBA CITY—A Chico man working in Yuba City Saturday was hit nearly head-on and critically injured by an unknown suspect who stole an SUV then fled from police. Lyle L. Verry, 38, was listed in critical but stable condition Monday at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Yuba City police Lt. Bill Ollar said Verry was severely burned when the fleeing subject, driving a silver 2000 Ford Expedition, hit his company vehicle, a 1984 GMC flatbed truck, causing the gas tank to explode. A witness to the collision, which took place at Walton Avenue and Bridge Street, pulled Verry out of the truck by his ankles, but the victim's clothing had already caught fire.

The truck was destroyed in the blaze.

Ollar said there were several witnesses to the horrific incident. The Sutter County Trauma Intervention Team was called in to assist family members and stunned onlookers.

Yuba City police said Verry has a wife and three children who will need financial assistance, especially if Verry faces huge medical bills and a long rehabilitation.

Verry has been employed by Skip Brown Paving of Chico for the last three years and was in Yuba City working on a job for a new housing subdivision.

Lynette Brown said Verry has no medical insurance, but does qualify for workers' compensation. She also said the small contracting company is also doing what it can to help the family, including supplying Verry's wife with a cell phone and assisting with transportation between Chico and the hospital in Sacramento.

"This is a family in need," said Ollar, who noted that his department is attempting to determine if the Verrys might be eligible for victim-witness money. Verry was taken by helicopter to the medical center, where he was admitted to the burn unit.

The chase which preceded the collision began in the parking lot of a Sam's Club store when the owner of the car spotted it and called police.

The suspect initially appeared willing to stop for police, but then sped away. Police pursued the vehicle at high speeds along Walton, until the crash occurred shortly before 4 p.m.  

The suspect jumped from the suspected stolen vehicle and began jumping fences through a residential neighborhood. He was described as a Hispanic male adult wearing a white T-shirt, tan pants and very short hair. He also possibly sustained an injury to his forehead.

Several police agencies were called in to search for the suspect, including a CHP helicopter and K-9 units from the Sutter County Sheriff's Office.

The suspect hadn't been found as of Monday afternoon.

© Copyrighted article reprinted with permission. 


The Lyle Verry Family thanks everyone for their support. 

Immediately after the crash, the Yuba City Police Department set up a fund for The Verry Family. The department's concern—backed up by establishing this fund—for an innocent pursuit victim and the family is not typical of many law enforcement departments. In most crashes that involve the police, law enforcement officials have a tendency to distance themselves from the innocent victim(s) of police pursuits.


by Candy Priano 

I contacted Yuba City Police Chief Richard Doscher on July 22, 2004, to obtain information for The Lyle Verry Family fund drive set up by the Yuba City Police Department. (Fund drive information was posted on this site when the fund drive was in progress.) Chief Doscher said the fleeing suspect, after acting like he was going to pull over, bolted into traffic. The chase then continued down the street for a brief time.

After reviewing a huge number of police chases gone wrong, I have come to realize one fact about flight-risk suspects and fleeing drivers: They are unpredictable, and officers should not count on them to do the right thing.