We seldom hear about a high-speed pursuit where a woman is a suspect driver. However, it does happen. Often officers have heightened concerns when they realize it is a woman behind the wheel in the event she has children in the vehicle, and with statistics showing at least 1 out of 100 high-speed pursuits result in a fatality, children raise the safety measures to heightened levels. However, if it is determined that no children are involved, the dynamics of pursuits will continue as safety allows, considering environmental conditions and the overall mission to protect lives.
94% of police chases involve a male driver.
In California, only 5% of high-speed pursuits are an attempt to catch someone suspected of committing a violent crime; most of the pursuits started for a minor traffic or vehicle infraction, and a common offense has a suspended license. The statistics are saddening how often these unnecessary chases result in severe injury and even fatalities of innocent bystanders, other drivers, suspects, and law officers. If drivers would simply pull over if they are fearful of a minor offense, it would save lives and the time and resources it takes to apprehend a suspect that has needlessly put hundreds on the road in danger, including themselves.
Typically, these high-speed pursuits are conducted by the owners of the cars themselves or by a stolen vehicle belonging to an unsuspecting citizen.
Today, that was not the case.
Reports of the chase came in around 1:30 p.m. in the area of West Rancho Dominguez in Los Angeles County. Officials stated a suspect helped themselves to a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department cruiser while it was parked and took off at excessive speeds. According to KABC, the incident began with a crash involving a sheriff's SUV, resulting in the suspect stealing the cruiser first along surface streets and onto the 110 Freeway. Concern and focus were also on a department shotgun in the vehicle when it was stolen.
At one point, the driver topped over 160 mph. Then, making their way into Orange County, the woman driver headed into a dead end while navigating into an industrial yard.
A PIT maneuver spun the driver around, pinning the stolen law enforcement cruiser with several other LASD vehicles. Then, pulling their weapons while approaching the suspect, deputies pulled her out of the cruiser and into custody.
High-speed pursuits are considered one of the most dangerous encounters in the day of a law enforcement officer. For example, in January 2023, Orange County law enforcement experienced a high-speed chase all beginning because the driver was wanted for speeding, according to the CHP. Reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour, recklessly driving on surface streets amid rush hour traffic, and weaving through congested neighborhoods, the suspect eventually surrendered after a successful PIT maneuver disabled the vehicle.
According to the National Institute of Justice that interviewed suspects who had fled, the suspects relayed that they did so to avoid arrest, driving under the influence, adrenaline rush, or the minimal reasons we've already covered.
In this case today, we are left to wonder what she was thinking about stealing a sheriff's vehicle and taking officers on a dangerous pursuit. At present, we can only be thankful the result was no one was harmed during the offense.
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