Tarrant Police Chief says high speed chase was justified - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tarrant Police Chief says high speed chase was justified

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For several hours Monday officers stayed in hot pursuit of a man behind the wheel of a stolen SUV. ABC 33/40 has exclusive video of when they finally got him on I-20/59 at the 31st Street exit.

Rodeny Lee Evans is behind bars in Tarrant, expected to be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail. He is charged with attempted murder, possession of cocaine, and receiving stolen property.

All this started with a purse snatching. But how did that escalate into a high speed chase?

ABC 33/40's Candace Sweat spoke with Tarrant police chief Dennis Reno. Tarrant is the law enforcement agency handling the case. The chief says purse snatching is a felony. And Tarrant's chase policy allows officers to pursue a suspect if a felony has been committed. We asked Chief Reno if he thought a purse snatching was worth it.

"Well put yourself in that person's position that got their purse snatched. Then you would think it was important. Then he attempted to use her stolen credit card which is another felony," said Reno.

Reno believes officers were justified in the suspect chase. A chase  that reached speeds above 80 miles per hour. Though it began with a purse snatching, Reno says the suspect also put an officer's life in danger; another reason to continue in hot pursuit.  

"What emphasis do you want to put on it? some people would say no that's not justification, but then when he starts trying to strike officers with his vehicle and he starts ramming other cars on the interstate then I think it's up to police to do something to stop this guy before he does do something to kill somebody," he said.

The chase  ended with Tarrant Police performing a pit maneuver - a pursuit tactic that causes a suspect's car to turn sideways. Reno says it is typically up to the patrol sergeant to determine whether to become involved in a chase and use the pit maneuver.

Reno told us just because Tarrant Police can pursue a suspect doesn't mean they always will. He says the public's safety is top priority.

"Is there ever an instance where someone would do this and a patrol sergeant would choose not to pursue that person to this extent? oh yes. If it was in a residential area where a lot of kids were playing, or really heaving traffic, like if it would have been the evening rush hour coming back down the interstate of course we would not have done this maneuver on him," said Reno.

Reno says Rodeny Lee Evans, has a long list of prior offenses which primarily consist of theft, starting back a decade ago.

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