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Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney discusses fleeing police and review of new car chase policy

A Pittsburgh police chief has ordered a review of the bureau’s car chase policy after a 12-year-old girl and four other people were hurt during a police pursuit early Sunday night through Shadyside. The chief issued a memo on Monday that bars officers from beginning a chase unless they believe the suspect is wanted for a violent felony. The police chief said that “too many instances occur where…police pursuits create danger to the public…” The girl remains in critical condition today. She was a passenger in the backseat of a car that police attempted to pull over for a routine traffic violation at about 5:30 p.m. near Shetland Street and Larimer Avenue in Larimer. The driver of the car, a 23-year-old man, took off toward East Liberty Boulevard. There was also a 16-year-old girl in the front passenger seat. Police say that they later found a bulletproof vest, two full-cover ski masks, and a police scanner in car. The pursuit lasted five minutes and went through East Liberty, Bloomfield, and Shadyside before the driver wrecked into another vehicle near the intersection of Baum Boulevard and Broughton Street. A Wexford couple in another vehicle who were traveling to Bloomfield to visit their daughter were taken to UPMC Presbyterian with non-life-threatening injuries. Police said the suspect was taken to UPMC Mercy in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries. The 16-year-old passenger had to be cut from the wreckage and was taken to Children’s Hospital in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries. Police say that high-speed chases have decreased throughout PA, but that vehicle pursuits in Pittsburgh continue to rise. Chases by Pittsburgh police rose from 121 in 2011 to 184 in 2012 and to 205 in 2013, the most recent year for which data was available. Of the chases in 2013, police caught 144 drivers and stopped chasing suspects during 60 other pursuits. More than half of the chases, 110 in total, began because of routine traffic stops. Police in PA in 2013 were involved in 1472 pursuits. That total is down from 1522 in 2012. The number of deaths related to police pursuits fell from fourteen in 2012 to seven in 2013. Although chases increased in 2013 in Pittsburgh, there were no deaths as a result. Four people died in police pursuits in Pittsburgh in 2012. If you have been arrested for fleeing police during a routine traffic stop, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Gary Gerson to review your case and discuss your rights. Call today at 412-219-6875 . Source: TribLive.com, “Pittsburgh police chief limits chases, orders review of policy” 23 November 2015

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