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The Truth About Bystander Fatalities During Police Chases

Posted on in Car Accidents

Chicago car accident attorney police chase bystanderIn October of 2018, nine bystanders, including three children, were severely injured when a police chase ultimately ended in a multi-car collision in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Two of the injured bystanders suffered fatal injuries. The tragedy brought awareness to the issue of police chases and how much danger they can bring to pedestrians and other bystanders. 

During a police chase, the law enforcement vehicles involved, as well as the fleeing vehicles, essentially become reckless drivers. All vehicles involved in a chase are likely to drive at excessive speeds, pass other vehicles unsafely, and disregard traffic safety guidelines. People injured in this type of motor vehicle collision should seek legal help to determine how to receive compensation for their damages. 

How Common Are Police Chase Fatalities? 

In truth, police chases are incredibly dangerous for all parties involved, and fatalities are much more common than most people would like to believe. Recent studies found that between the years of 1979 and 2013, more than 5,000 passengers and bystanders were fatally injured due to high-speed police chases. During that same time period, approximately 6,300 suspects died in police chases, while 139 police officers were fatally injured as well. One of the primary takeaways of the study was that pedestrians and other road users are nearly as likely to be injured or killed in a police chase as the criminals involved. It should come as no surprise that the United States Justice Department deemed high-speed police chases as “the most dangerous of all ordinary police activities.” 

Is it Worth it? 

While everyone can appreciate the diligent work that police officers do to keep us safe, in many cases, high-speed police chases turn out to be an unnecessary action that puts all other road users at risk. According to studies conducted by the Justice Department, using the state of California as a data center, only 5% of all police chases throughout the state were initiated in pursuit of a suspect of a violent crime. The vast majority of violations that cause police chases are minor crimes such as suspended licenses, minor theft, and avoiding arrest. 

What Can You Do? 

If you see a police chase occurring in your general area, it is important to proceed with extreme caution. Keeping a safe distance between you and the speeding vehicles can be key to your safety. Remaining in your vehicle can also help ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe, as pedestrians are much less protected in the event of an automobile accident. If you or a loved one do suffer injuries in a motor vehicle collision, it is important to promptly contact medical personnel, as well as an experienced attorney. 

Set Up a Free Consultation with a Lake County Personal Injury Attorney

At Salvi and Maher, L.L.C., our team is committed to helping those injured in motor vehicle accidents. An injury suffered in a motor vehicle collision can come with costly medical expenses, lengthy physical therapy sessions, and prolonged emotional distress. If a member of your family is injured in a motor vehicle collision, it is highly likely that the accident was caused by driver error. To set up your free initial consultation with our Waukegan car accident attorneys, contact us today at 847-662-3303. 




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