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One Tragically Killed in a Police Chase on State Road 123 in Okaloosa County, Florida (FL)

July 20, 2020

OKALOOSA COUNTY, FL- writes that police were involved in pursuit this week on State Road 85 in the late morning. The driver then veered onto State Road 123, where the car crashed onto the shoulder of the roadway.*

The vehicle rolled over, and several people in the vehicle were thrown from the car. The crash killed one person, identified as a seventeen-year-old boy from Fort Walton Beach. The other occupants included a twenty-year-old man,  a fifteen-year-old boy, and an eighteen-year-old all also from Walton Beach and a fifteen-year-old from Freeport. 

The eighteen-year-old sustained critical injuries in the collision, and the other individuals were all in serious condition. The report did not state who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. 

Police chases are often criticized for being dangerous to the public. Statistically, police pursuits cause more deaths annually than lightning, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined. The victims are often the fleeing drivers, but in many cases, chases end up killing passengers or bystanders who have absolutely nothing to do with the suspect or the chase. 

Many of these incidents are initiated in response to minor, non-violent crimes. The decision to pursue a suspect is not always based on a well-thought-out risk analysis. Instead, one retired officer stated that many of these dangerous pursuits are simply initiated because the police officer becomes angry. 

When police departments initiate policies that discourage these pursuits, they occur much less frequently. In fact, restrictions have been found to lower the number of chases from seventeen a year per 100 officers to just two. 

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Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.