By on June 2, 2014

To Dodge, aye, to RAM: there’s the rub.

If you have been within shouting distance of the Internet lately, you’ve no doubt heard about the Veloster/RAM collision from this weekend. There are many descriptions of the incident available, but my absolute favorite comes from MA-ROONED:

So, this fourteen year old delinquent steals his grandfather’s car. He proceeds to go on a joyride, listening to the police scanner, when he decides the best way to shake the po-po is to drive through a playground where young children are playing. The cops back off, because they don’t want to endanger the kids, so he decides another run is in order.

Then one of the dads gets pissed. Dad has a Dodge Earthf**ker. On the little bastard’s third swing around, Dad rams the sonofabitch. Hilarity ensues.

There you do. Jalopnik refers to the father’s actions as a “moral grey area”, and the blogger I quoted above points out that the RAM was, in fact, in the wrong lane at the time. It’s possible that the various laws in place that protect citizens acting to assist the police might be of use here; it’s also possible that the police will simply decline to charge him, making the inevitable lawsuit by the kid’s parents more difficult.

What say you, B&B? And how does this photo make you feel about crash safety in the high and mighty era?

rammed

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160 Comments on “Question Of The Day: Dodge It Or RAM It?...”


  • avatar
    Andy

    I do not condone this. If he was making his third lap, the kids were relatively safe, because everyone knew what was happening and had cleared out. The police were handling it, and he went vigilante. That said, I love how his bumper is barely scratched. I hope he leaves the scratches there, so he can tell people about how he got them. We have a Suburban. It’s not lifted, but it does make me feel good knowing that the little shit who tailgates my wife and kids will get the worse end of the deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I condone it, because it’s not vigilantism.

      Vigilantes do law enforcement independently and *punish* people outside the rule and process of law.

      He was stopping a crime in progress, which is *absolutely legal* everywhere I know of in the US – this is no more vigilantism than someone preventing a store robbery is, which is to say not at all.

      (For that matter motor vehicle theft is a *felony* in Utah – and the law tends to look lightly on the use of not-very-deadly force (like “causing him to him hit your car with his speeding car”) to stop a felony in commission, especially one recklessly endangering bystanders.)

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Yeah, until someone with a lifted Suburban takes out your kids.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      The “problem” with the video/situation is that everything worked out for the better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the idiot in the Hyundai was stopped and nobody was hurt. But there were a lot of things happening at once and if one of those things went even the slightest bit differently, then the situation would have changed from heroic to tragic.

      What if the car swerved out of the way of the truck and then the truck plowed into the following police car? Would the Ram driver be hailed as a hero? No, most everyone here would be lambasting him as idiot. And the driver would most assuredly be arrested.

      In the short video, the camera pans past some kids. What if the RAM caused the Hyundai to swerve and it runs over some of those kids. The driver of the RAM would then be (at least partially) culpable in harm coming to those kids he was trying to protect.

      It’s easy to hail the RAM driver as a hero and yell “(Tr)uck yea!” because a big hunk of American (assembled in Mexico) metal took out a measly Korean tin can, but things could have gone tragically wrong. Best to leave the pursuits to the professionals

  • avatar
    DadMEGA

    No question, dude in the truck is a hero.

    • 0 avatar
      SayMyName

      +1. The only thing he could have done better is shot the little sh!t in the head afterwards.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yeah, no.

        Because that crosses a big line between ‘stopping a crime in progress’ and ‘murder in the form of vigilante justice’.

        • 0 avatar
          SayMyName

          Meh. This little punk deliberately chose to put children and others at direct risk, not once but twice (and was trying for a third.)

          I highly doubt he’s ever going to contribute anything that would offset those selfish and self-entitled choices… so cull him from the herd now, before he pursues even more violent crimes – or, worse, becomes a financial burden on society thanks to his inability to gain meaningful employment.

          • 0 avatar
            slow kills

            Yeah, the truck driver chose to put a child at even more direct risk.
            Who had the intent to kill here, a stupid kid that can’t drive or an adult that deliberately caused a head-on collision?

            Vehicular manslaughter charges against trucko.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Correct. That’s the police’s job. Let them shoot the “little sh!t” in the head.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Riddle me this, Mr. Law and Order: Let’s say it’s YOUR stupid 14 year old who took YOUR car for a reckless little joyride. Someone pops a cap in his head afterwards, and you’re OK with that, right?

        Yeah, I didn’t think so.

        That, or this is just trolling.

        • 0 avatar
          SayMyName

          Mine never would. See, there’s this thing called “responsible parenting,” maybe you’ve heard of it?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Matador, lots of completely responsible parents who would never, ever teach them anything but “how to be responsible” lessons end up with out of control kids. They THINK something along the lines of “my kid would never do that because he’d be dead,” or some such macho thinking, but it happens. In fact, it happened to MY family – my youngest brother was a completely out of control mess until he was in his early 20s. He never pulled anything like what you saw in this video, but what he did pull was certainly bad enough. My parents were completely law abiding, responsible, affluent, reasonably strict parents who never once reinforced that this kind of behavior was even remotely acceptable. And yet my brother went down a very self destructive path, which he was eventually able to pull himself out of.

          Sometimes even kids from perfectly good environments go bad. It happens. If it doesn’t happen to you, then count your blessings.

    • 0 avatar

      A Chrysler product RAMS and destroys a foreign import without taking major damage???

      How could my day get any better than this?

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      He would have been a hero if he did it with a Geo Metro.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    In direct answer to the question posed, the suspect was not harmed and the car did its job to protect the occupants. So I still feel very good about crash safety.

    As for the situation as a whole. I am not comfortable with a private citizen involving himself in an active police pursuit no matter his intentions. I am awfully critical of police actions; as a citizen I actually feel it is my duty to be so. However, I am very much in favor of giving police wide leeway to resolve a situation as they see fit. The place to second guess the police is in the courtroom later and not on the scene. The police had already determined that pursuit was dangerous and not worth the risk. For the average citizen to decide that they know better than the police on the scene and assume that risk is not the right action.

    Personally, what I would hope happen is that the gentleman (or lady as the case may be) in the RAM gets a thanks and a private slap on the wrist to remind him to allow the police to execute their duties without his involvement.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If my kid was on that playground I would thank the man in the RAM. I would be glad he thought it was worth the risk, even if the police did not.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        Make no mistake, I am pleased that it ended well. I too am a father and understand the knee jerk reaction here to applaud this citizen. However, I also am mature enough to know my duty. If I see emergency lights behind me I am to immediately pull over and allow the police to either go by me or approach my vehicle. In short, if the police have business it is my duty to get out of the way and not to decide how to help. If I and my child were at this playground, my duty is not to figure out a way to stop the car. My duty is to immediately bring my daughter immediately to safety. If my daughter is mature enough to attend the playground on her own then she is mature enough to know that her duty is to seek immediate safety.

        I fully believe that each person has their place in society. I am an Electrical Engineer who happens to dabble in working on cars; I am not a police man and I should not act as such. I should focus on being the best engineer I can. My daughter is a student. She should focus on being the best student she can. The police are the police and should focus on their job. And this driver in question is not the police and should in this case focus on giving room to the police to do their job.

        I do applaud the RAM driver for stopping this and am again pleased at the result. It still was not appropriate.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Average people can be peace officers just like police officers can. In this case, it looks like he did exactly what needed to be done. I hope he gets a congratulations and no harassment for infringing on police work that they couldn’t seem to get done.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          My first place in soceity is to protect my family. Maybe it’s because I spend many days in Detroit, but to me, the police tend to show up after bad things happen to good people, not before. While the actions of the RAM driver are not my preferred course of action, he was more effective than those that are supposed to protect and serve.

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            “My first place in soceity is to protect my family.”

            On this we are in full agreement. From my point of view though, protecting my family entails avoiding police actions and most certainly not getting myself involved in one.

      • 0 avatar

        There is no “moral grey area” when it comes to protecting one’s kids. Guy in the Ram did the right thing. Of course the 14 year old probably has ADHD with “poor impulse control” and will be right back at it as soon as The Authorities complete his wrist slap.

      • 0 avatar
        slow kills

        This was vengeance, not defense. It was the emotional act of a reckless emotionally unstable individual that was no better than the victim presumably half his age.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          It certainly doesn’t appear that way from the videos. He moved is truck into the path of the car at very low speed. If he wanted to monster truck the Hyundai, he could have, but instead it he performed a blocking maneuver not unlike what the police would have done if they were in his path.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        If my kid were on the playground, I’d be grateful to the Ram driver for life.

        I would question, though, why the police didn’t use a spike strip. Then, they can beat up the little Hyundai.

        But still, the RAM driver did the right thing. Plus, he did it on a corner. The Hyundai would have less speed there than on a straight.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      So first, the Ram didn’t pursue, he acted away from the kids and playground. I think of the options he had (assuming inaction was not on the table) this was probably the best course of action.

      That said, he’s opened himself up to a world of lawsuits and legal trouble. But if I had a kid and some punk was joy riding through the playground, I’d do the same or more. My life and my kid’s life would be more important than someone (regardless who) driving through an occupied playground.

      I hope he gets a great lawyer to represent him and stuff the parents of the joyrider and any charges against him.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        The RAM did not pursue, that is correct. However, he did involve himself directly and actively in a police pursuit. That I have issue with.

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          I agree with you to an extent, neither party is right. But put me at that playground and I don’t think I’d care. There are a lot of times civilians help police, this just happened to be a rather aggressive instance.

          EDIT: And also add pointed out below, the driver probably acted in a better, and certainly more effective, way than the police. Chasing the kid from behind will not immediately disable the Hyundai if there is an impact and they would have to sandwich it to control and corral it. If the kid was doing laps, eventually the police would have to get in front of him.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            What isn’t right about what the Ram driver did? Taking work from the police? The municipality should send the guy a check for the awesome peace keeping job.

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            Reply limit reached; this is in reply to danio3834. I have already stated in what I feel to be a clear and logical position on what the RAM driver did wrong. His duty is to keep clear of the police while they are performing their job; not involving himself.

            If you are not happy with how your local police perform their duties then involve yourself in local politics and demand the changes that you feel are required. If you are not happy with how your government functions then rebel.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            It is absolutely the duty of a citizen to help keep the peace if there is an opportunity to do so. I don’t know if there are any legal requirements in this particular community that compel him to, but when it comes to public safety, there are no clear separations of duty.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “The police are the people, and the people are the police”, saith Peel, who was right.

      There is no duty to not stop crimes in progress just because a cop decided not to – or for that matter to decide the same things as policemen do.

      Cops are not magic and special and have no proper powers anyone else doesn’t – their only bonus is qualified immunity, which is why it’s normally *most prudent* to let them do all the messy work. But that’s not an ethical obligation to not, as it were, join the hue and cry.

      (Though note also he was not *pursuing*, but blocking, which is different. And not something cops in normal cruisers can safely do, in terms of their own safety.)

    • 0 avatar
      JalopNick

      “The place to second guess the police is in the courtroom later and not on the scene. The police had already determined that pursuit was dangerous and not worth the risk. For the average citizen to decide that they know better than the police on the scene and assume that risk is not the right action.”

      Respectfully, it sounds like you’d rather live in a world where everyone are worthless pussies and the omnipotent and omnipresent government would sort everything out for you. It is the reaction to such situations that separates men from those who’d rather analyze this later over a latte.

      The dude did everything right, stopped the perp decisively without endangering anyone. If he were my neighbor, I’d buy him beer till he begged me to stop.

      • 0 avatar
        slow kills

        No, the reaction is what separates the civilized from barbarians. This was in no way a rational act. It was a madman out for blood.

        • 0 avatar
          SayMyName

          Chalk up slow kills under the…

          (Easy there, killer — JB)

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “It was a madman out for blood.”

            You’re silly, but thanks for showing up. This thread was losing steam.

            And you’re not pathetic like the “Oughtta rip his head off and sh1t down his neck!” contingent.

          • 0 avatar
            slow kills

            Your [SayMyName’s} immediate resorting to namecalling shows that you are not in the hero category by far. Just a scared little boy wanting to be tough.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @SayMyName
            “Chalk up slow kills under the “worthless pussy” column.”

            Yes, and only a Real Man calls another man’s macho into question…over the Internet. What’s next – a “your mama” taunt? Maybe your daddy can beat his daddy up a million times.

            Behold, B&B…we have a brave keyboard warrior here! Let’s all reward him by ignoring his cry-for-attention posts going forward.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I believe “Say My Name” was making a satirical reference to JalopNick’s post.

          Regardless, everybody BE COOL

          • 0 avatar
            SayMyName

            Jack is correct. And I stand by my comment.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            And I stand by mine. Someone who calls out another man’s macho over the Internet isn’t exactly overflowing with macho himself, and I don’t care what the reason is. You got no code, buddy.

            Jack, I really think this site could benefit from an “ignore” button.

          • 0 avatar
            JalopNick

            If I may provide some largely irrelevant insight, as I was writing my comment above, I was remembering a time in my youth when a large-enough group of people finally worked up the courage to no longer wait for the authorities to do the right thing and “took matters into their own hands”. Some said they were “out for blood”. It was 1989, the anti-communist revolution in Eastern Europe. People had decided it was finally time to do what’s right as opposed to what was prudent or legal. Given the opportunity, they stopped being pussies for a bit and the world changed almost overnight.

            Now, where does that dude live and what beer does he like?

        • 0 avatar
          rolosrevenge

          Which is why his break lights were on as he choppily turned to cut off the entrance to the road. Interestingly as well, the kid stole a gun, which was found in the car, and witnesses say he was brandishing it.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          If he was wanting blood, he could have done it easily with that Ram. He didn’t.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m sorry DevilsRotary86, but you can’t say “the police determined the pursuit was dangerous and not worth the risk” unless the police called off the chase, shut their lights and sirens off, and left the area so they could catch up with him and arrest him later, but that’s not what happened. Those were cop cars in the video actively pursuing the suspect, correct? Now they may have backed off the pursuit when he was IN the playground area, to keep from mowing down children themselves or causing panicked, deadly reactions from the suspect in such a volatile, child-filled situation, but when he exited the playground/park, they were right back on him, hence why he made multiple loops/passes through it.

        I’m not judging the father’s actions in stopping the car as morally right or legally wrong, I’m just trying to point out an important distinction in the chase narrative. The way he was presumably driving, the police could not afford to let him continue, lest innocent citizens be hurt or killed. They could back off the pursuit a ways to let the 14 y.o. calm down and reduce speed like they sometimes do in very HIGH speed chases (I don’t know the speeds reached in this chase of course).

  • avatar
    mcarr

    Guy in the truck did what the police should have done. I am quite comfortable with his actions and the result.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The cops won’t do that for a very good reason. It’s the same reason they don’t want civilians getting involved and placing themselves AND the cops at even more risk. If there’s a gun battle with the perp, the civilian is then in the direct line of fire.

      I wouldn’t get involved unless I could block a perp’s escape, with enough time to escape myself.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        If police chase videos are to be believed, cops do exactly that frequently. They sacrifice their vehicles as barriers or rams to stop vehicles they believe pose imminent danger to others.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Civilization is a large group of people behaving with courtesy and consideration towards one another, falling upon internal or external aggressors like a pack of wolves to tear them apart, then returning to being courteous and considerate towards one another.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    “What say you, B&B? And how does this photo make you feel about crash safety in the high and mighty era?”
    I don’t take it as seriously as this more common accident I saw yesterday (and have seen repeated several times around the city):

    http://i.imgur.com/MyxpgSY.jpg

    Anytime a truck gets t-boned it’s almost certainly going to roll. Notice the a-pillar caved in on the passenger side in this case, too.

    And that’s nothing compared to what you see on ice covered interstates in the winter. 90% of cars don’t roll when they slide off, but 90% of pickups and SUVs do.

    The only place where an SUV/Truck is better is for low speed head-on and rear-end collisions where they do more damage than they take, and that’s only because they don’t meet the safety requirements all cars must for higher speed wrecks.

    And for the Shakespeare sticklers, I’d go with “To Dodge, perchance to RAM. Aye, there’s the rub.”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I’m not a huge fan of the-bigger-is-safer ethos, as it leads to all of us driving around in tanks and APCs, but the after pictures of the RAM are pretty impressive. I once drove a Suburban that got t-boned by a Toyota that was doing about 40, we didn’t come close to rolling over. But it can happen obviously.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Advance_92 – and was those observations gleaned from the Ford Exploder generation?
      SUV’s have gotten lower and wider but they do represent a disproportionate amount of roll overs.

      You should consider the fact that most SUV’s and trucks are 4×4′s and drivers of 4×4 vehicles assume that they are safer and overdrive road conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I think the big BOFs roll upside down because they want their tummies rubbed, like my girl kitty.

      And you’re right, they do it just as often.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    The Ram driver made a quick decision based on risk mitigation. The police were probably constrained by superiors because of the very cam phones in use during this event.
    Ram driver did what needed to be done. The only wrong in all of this is the car thief and their criminal action.

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      BS. Risk mitigation would be corralling children near a tree, in the truck, maybe blockading with a parked vehicle. This was a crazed man that saw an opportunity to indulge in some lawlessness.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I say the Ram driver is a hero.

    His location he selected to do the block and stop was also at a place where the erratic driver would have to slow down to make the 90 degree turn and would have the least ability to maneuver around. The overall impact wasn’t at say the 40+ MPH where modern safety equipment in the average newer car is going to fail.

    At this point no harm or foul.

    Compared to the rock throwing butthead in last week’s video – it seems a very calculated risk was taken – and it paid off.

    Hero.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      And if the Veloster driver was more skilled, managed to cut to the inside to avoid the truck and the cop behind failed to stop, slamming into the truck, is the Ram driver still a hero? Because the Ram driver couldn’t know for sure how things would turn out. Anything could have happened. An impact with the cop, or the Veloster sliding out of control into the bystanders while avoiding the truck, any number of bad outcomes. It looks great the way that it turned out but it could just have easily been tragic. Police chases are hazardous enough without adding in untrained vigilantes out of communication with the police.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        If…but if didn’t happen.

        I’m not encouraging vigilantism, but the cops had already backed off, and the kid was just going over and over again – he took a calculated risk, it paid off.

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          So heroism is a function of results; good outcome=hero, bad outcome=goat?
          The cops had backed off but not abandoned chase. You can see the cop in the video. Ram driver had no assurance that his actions would help, not hinder, the police action. He chose to insert himself directly into the action at no one’s behest and without any ability to coordinate his action with the police, as likely out of frustration as out of fear of imminent danger to someone. He got lucky with the result, but that doesn’t make him a hero to me. Parking his truck between the path of the Veloster and the bystanders making the video would have been more heroic.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @ClutchCarGo –

            Hero or zero is gauged by outcome.

          • 0 avatar
            rolosrevenge

            Heroism is always a function of results. If you see someone with a gun shooting people and you take out your gun and shoot him, you’re a hero. If you miss and kill a bystander, not so much. The question is, should you try to stop someone endangering the lives of others? I say yes.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >So heroism is a function of results; good outcome=hero, bad outcome=goat?

            Absolutely. See the ending of the DeNiro movie “Taxi Driver”.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            So if results are all that matters, someone who faces up to a shooter, shields the shooter’s targets with his own body, tries to fire back at the shooter but misses and hits a bystander after being hit himself is a zero, but the guy who pushes an old lady into the shooter to avoid being shot himself, thus knocking the gun out of the shooter’s hand is a hero? Not in my book.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    I read an interview with the driver where he said his goal was to block, not necessarily ram. Given the thief had driven through the park TWICE, and seemed poised on going through it a third time, it seems like the right decision to me.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    Ramming a vehicle is a pretty serious use of force in pretty much every jurisdiction…considered to be on par with *lethal force* (no different than shooting someone with a firearm) in some department use of force continuums. Departmental policies generally restrict the use of a ram to situations where the individual officer has been cleared to actually perform one by higher level command officers (who are supposed to weigh the totality of the situation including the threat level to the public, to the officers, and to the person being rammed) or when there are exigent circumstances.

    …which means, basically, that the officer can articulate a reasonable threat to life and limb that would justify using the officer’s vehicle as a lethal weapon. Because it is, essentially, a lethal weapon when used to ram another vehicle.

    A police officer **who acts within the boundaries of department policy** (which are shaped by laws and jurisprudence surrounding the use of force) is indemnified by the agency he works for (which carries insurance) and if his department’s policies are sane can generally have qualified immunity. This means that he/she is covered for any legal expenses that arise from a civil tort that results from a use of force, and that even if a court later disagrees with departmental policy the individual officer isn’t likely to have to pay anything out of pocket.

    A non-sworn individual is certainly **not** covered by their insurance policy when using their vehicle as a weapon, has no indemnification for any tort that arises, and isn’t entitled to qualified immunity unless there’s some sort of good samaritan statute that comes into play…and even then those statutes may require a specific adjudication which is going to require a lawyer to argue anyway.

    A police officer benefits from the assumption of necessity in the minds of the general public (who make up juries) when he/she uses force where the non-sworn individual doesn’t.

    So all of that being said:

    1. A use of force, *any* use of force by anybody, hinges on the concept of reasonableness. Whether or not the individual who used force acted reasonably in the situation given the circumstances he/she perceived, and the knowledge they had in their head at the moment. The time component is an element of reasonableness, meaning that more violent or extreme reactions are justified in the face of an imminent threat. If someone points a gun in your face and demands money, it’s an imminent threat and you’re justified to use lethal force in response. If someone tells you that tomorrow they’re going to stick a gun in your face and demand money you do not have justification at that moment to use lethal force because the threat is not yet imminent.

    Generally speaking, imminent threats do not allow time for you to get in your vehicle, start it, pull out, and then drive into somebody else. An imminent threat would be more like you are already driving and you see this idiot about to careen into a group of kids and you ram him to prevent that outcome.

    The video footage is slim pickings because it shows only a sliver of the situation. From the looks of just the video I don’t see a good reasonableness argument for the Dodge driver’s actions.

    Being pissed off is not the same thing as being in reasonable fear of death or grave injury to yourself or an innocent third party.

    2. There are lots of factors to be considered in a chase, and if the police hadn’t yet decided to PIT or otherwise intervene it probably hadn’t reached the level of being a necessary action. Even then, a PIT is very different than just ramming another vehicle head on. A PIT at those speeds would be a fairly minor thing with minimal risk to all involved. A head on ram isn’t. Had a police officer done this it would probably be outside department policy and a ready made suit for excessive force.

    3. What ultimately happens to the guy in the Dodge depends on a great many things, not the least of which is the temperament of the investigators and prosecutors who look at this. With the “right” sort of people looking at it he won’t be charged with anything. In a state that is friendly to use of force in self defense no criminal charges means a low likelihood of a civil tort.

    If this was syracuse NY, then the Dodge driver messed up big time. NYS is a “duty to retreat” state which requires you to have no reasonable alternative to the use of lethal (or other significant) force to justify it. Even then there’s no civil protection for a justified use of force.

    It’s going to be difficult to argue that there was no reasonable alternative available to the Dodghe driver when there are cop cars on the tail of the guy he rammed. The most reasonable thing to do would have been to let the cops handle the situation.

    Instead, he rammed a car with a 14 year old in it. The fact that the 14 year old is a little punk will be irrelevant if he shows up in court in a wheelchair and neck brace.

    Conclusions:

    - Stupid move by the guy in the truck. Epic stupid. He’s got criminal and civil liability out the yingyang for this stunt. He bet his entire financial future on this, and I’m betting he did so primarily out of anger rather than fear. It’s one thing to risk it all in defense of your child’s life from a no-bones-about-it imminent threat. It’s another to risk all of that because you’re cheesed at some jackwagon who, while annoying, isn’t seriously endangering your child. Fear in that situation would have probably looked like attempting to secure one’s child and flee the danger area. Not the ram.

    - People who have no understanding of how UOF plays in the criminal or civil justice system frequently think that they’re covered if they act with good intentions. That isn’t true. It isn’t even close to being true. Good intentions don’t mean beans in the courts. George Zimmerman had good intentions…look what happened to him.

    - I’m all for using appropriate force when it is necessary. Up to and including lethal force. I’m also all for not using force if it isn’t necessary, if for no other reason than any UOF could turn really bleeding ugly on you in no time flat. Using force is taking a giant risk…and you’d better be damn sure it’s worth the risk you’re taking. You’re risking everything from your freedom to your financial future anytime you use force against another human being. It had damned well better be worth it.

    …and “worth it” looks a hell of a lot different when the adrenaline wears off and you’re in police custody looking for a lawyer to represent you. Trust me.

    Absent some compelling narrative from the driver of that truck, I’m holding that it was a spectacularly stupid move. If this was in NYS, a stupid move that’s a slam dunk for criminal charges unless the authorities in that area are more worried about PR than low hanging fruit. (Cops and prosecutors love low hanging fruit like an addict loves heroin) Throw in a ready-made vigilante angle complete with socially unacceptable assault vehicle and a retarded chimp could get this guy convicted of something.

    Dumb move, kiddies…don’t try this at home.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Bravo. I am glad that I am not the only one who shares this view. Personally though, I hope that they do not go after the driver of the RAM with charges. As I stated earlier, I would be happy if they gave him a public thank you and a private slap on the wrist and reminder to allow the police to do their work.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Well stated. glad it all worked out, but the potential downside was huge, and presumably the children were safely out of harm’s way at this point. So no, not a smart move.

      Edit: Just watched part one, and damn he came close to taking out a kid. I’m backing off on my condemnation of the RAM driver, there’s really no telling what the Hyundai might have done next, he was clearly extremely dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Carrya1911 – fear for one’s life or fear for the life of one’s family is one of the metrics used to gauge the appropriateness of one’s actions.

      Watching police ineffectively try to stop a perpetrator lap after lap in one’s neighbourhood through a school yard will escalate one’s fears.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        “fear” is not the sensation of fear. It is a reasonable fear, in other words a set of circumstances that the mythical “reasonable man” would find to be a threat to life and limb.

        From what I see in Part 1 of this video, the Ram driver could easily articulate that sort of fear to a judge or a jury. The close calls seen in that first video and knowing the guy is coming back for another run can certainly qualify as an imminent threat justifying the use of significant force.

        Still, it’s *far* from the most solid case I’ve seen. I wouldn’t charge the guy with anything…but the world isn’t full of people like me. He took a huge risk and hopefully because he meant well and it’s clear from additional evidence that the doofus in the Hyundai really was a rolling menace the Ram driver won’t suffer anything worse than paying out of pocket to fix whatever damage happened to his own truck. I doubt his insurer will be covering him for that.

      • 0 avatar
        slow kills

        Yes, the truck driver was a fraidy cat. There is no doubt that he is an overly emotional ninny.
        Were he rational, he’d just pack the family in the truck and stay put. But he’s not rational or even accused of being intelligent.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You must not have watched the news clip of the kid driving the Hyundai on the grass near crowds of people.

          • 0 avatar
            slow kills

            Yes, I did. It was not that near and they saw him coming with plenty on time to clear, which they did.
            This man actually abandoned his family in pursuit of his goofy daydream instead of doing something responsible.

    • 0 avatar
      rolosrevenge

      The kid also stole a gun and was seen pointing it at people. The stolen gun was found in the car. That kind of changes the argument a bit.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    If a cop had been on foot when that idiot kid came tearing through then he would have been justified if he fired on the car. This result is vastly preferable to the alternative of a cop shooting in a park full of kids.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      If someone tries to mow down a police officer with a car, then generally speaking using the sidearm is a justifiable act to try and prevent that…but the officer is still responsible for the totality of the circumstances. Whipping out one’s roscoe and blazing away, even in the presence of a legitimate threat, is not automatically a justified action.

      A shooting investigation, a proper one anyway, considers the totality of the circumstances.

  • avatar
    wsn

    If the car actually drove into the playground and that it can be shown that the car has no intention to stop, the truck driver’s action is self-defence.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Part one of the video embedded above shows the Veloster tearing through the park within spitting distance of a group of kids.

      Part 2 shows him rounding the corner toward the park for another lap.

      Seems well justified to me.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        Having just seen part 1 of the video, the Ram driver has in that video all the evidence he needs to justify his use of force. With a decent attorney he should easily avoid criminal liability.

        Civil liability, I’m not sure…although I doubt a jury is going to be too sympathetic to anyone suing him if they see that video.

        Getting the kids out of there and to a safe place would have still been a better option, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Defense of others – itself an affirmative defense for the use of force in Utah.

      Self-defense is, well, defense of the self.

  • avatar
    Lex

    Kudos to the RAM guy, I would do the same thing, no question.
    Given that POS kid was wilfully endangering the lives of others, he was lucky he didn’t take one in the skull. If fact I’d venture to say he got off waaaaaay easy unlike the NM homeless guy shot for nothing.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I don’t know why Jack bothers with guitars; he’s such a virtuoso at playing the mancard.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Good thing we have the chicken tax. It saved American children this weekend. This was obviously a job for a full size truck.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Jack, you should have posted Part 1 also. That punk caught air after sailing through the playground, and narrowly missed some people at the curb.

    I hope the police figure there’s nothing to see here. I also hope Grandpa is happy his lunatic grandson was stopped from killing people in his car.

    OTOH, if Junior had been killed in the Veloster, we’d be having a different discussion.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Looks like a case of reasonable force. The alternative could have been far worse — the kid had been driving on the grass and near crowds prior to that, which made him unpredictable at the very least.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Something to consider:
    If a suspect is on foot and clearly running from ensuing police and you stick your arm out clothes-lining the perp are you accused of vigilantism or are you a hero?
    It could be argued that you could cause more harm than if it was in these two cars as there are measures in place to protect you. On foot, head meet concrete.
    Any around it, I am just glad I am not the insurance adjuster assigned to this. Though the dad probably isn’t covered anyway since he caused the accident intentionally, which is generally a listed exclusion on your policy. And I would feel pretty terrible going after this guy personally if it were my a-hole grand kid.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Interesting comparison. In most cases you are actually legally excused because you stopped a chase in progress. The difference is your clothesline in itself is not an act of lethal force. The idea that your clothesline ends his life because he strikes his skull on pavement is possible but your original action is non-lethal (i.e. your clothesline). This gets into the legal arena where it is your original action you’re judged on for criminal action but your complete action for civil.

      So yes, you clothesline him the police won’t charge you with anything (because the assumption you are in danger due to his foot chase) but it leaves you open to a lawsuit if you killed him by proxy of your clothesline.

      The major difference here is that the RAM pickup is a lethal weapon and his accident is a lethal force action. It leaves you in place that is liable in both civil and criminal court. Not to mention that it was clearly premeditated because he wasn’t a good Samaritan who just happened to show up and end the chase.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Xeranar – I disagree. a head on collision at the speeds seen in the video aren’t high enough to be lethal.

        besides, this is similar to the “clothesline” argument, the only way the guy would stand a chance of dying is if he wasn’t belted in and who’s fault would that be?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Given how little we know about the incident, it is difficult to have an informed discussion about this. However, it did make great TTAC click-bait with hardly any editorial effort at all.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s not click-bait; it’s a meaningful discussion about a real-life incident.

      Did you watch Part 1, where the punk kid was clearly terrorizing the neighborhood?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Don’t worry. For Part 2, we’re making Derek do a “21 Jump Street” and go into juvenile detention to befriend the kid and find out the rest of the story.

      • 0 avatar
        Flat6

        Jack, all joking aside and strictly unconfirmed, the ‘Bro in a Ram’ was an off-duty officer. Any chance the TTAC crew could get his side of the situation and his involvement? Your post has generated a deluge of comments for/against his involvement.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Regarding the “after” photos, both car and truck performed admirably. Barely a scratch on the Ram (even with no fancy grille or light guards), while the Veloster crumpled as designed, not seeming to intrude on the passenger compartment, or even shattering the windshield, and the driver’s side door is still able to be opened. Not bad, considering the RAM’s bumper was WAY higher than the Hyundais, though that is a lot of damage for such a low-speed collision. Kid’s lucky he didn’t pinch a Pinto.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Here was another possible scenario.

    The kid swerved violently to avoid the Ram and actually killed a kid who was otherwise safely standing in their lawn.

    That is why vigilantism in this form is a bad idea.

    The RAM driver got lucky.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      There were lots of possible scenarios.

      The thing is, though, is that none of those scenarios were particularly good.

      In the real world, we are often confronted with a menu of choices, all of which are lousy; our job is to choose the least lousy one, as there isn’t an option that is desirable or free of risk. As mature adults, we have to accept that failing to act is a form of action, and that apathy can sometimes be the most expensive choice of all.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The photos imply the RAM suffered no serious damage, under the unscratched bumper there could be a cracked case, a fractured fly wheel or really any series of damaged components. But the Fascia is undamaged which is nice. The Hyundai is ruined but only because the impact was essentially with a large high-level slow moving object. It ended up saving a child with minimal physical trauma. It seems like everybody walked away.

    As for the vigilantism, unacceptable. There is a hefty civil lawsuit in his future that in all honesty will end up being paid out for the Veloster because he was acting in a criminal manner. Charged or not by the police the civil courts still frown upon the stupidity this man acted on. If the driver’s family doesn’t sue the insurance company may simply because it was an unnecessary accident.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Xeranar

      “The Hyundai is ruined but only because the impact was essentially with a large high-level slow moving object.”

      You just answered your question in relation to the “lethality” of the force used.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    I’m glad someone mentioned Part 1. How many of the comments criticizing the RAM driver would have changed had that been included here? As the punk roared (off-road no less) through the skatepark, all I thought was ‘Expletive-deleted that little expletive-deleted.’ Patently malevolent actions deserved and got a counter. I wonder, will he use the influenced-by-GTA defense?

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Yeah watching part 1 shows the kid needed to be stopped. If this was the kids third lap, the cops should have done what the guy did in on the first or second. Hard to argue with what this guy did.

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      It changed my mind not at all.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I would have thought that driving on the grass at a good clip would have been a big hint that the teen driver was erratic and unpredictable.

        • 0 avatar
          slow kills

          Yes, but we’re talking about the erratic and unpredictable adult driver that actually hit someone.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It isn’t “erratic” to bring a dangerous chase to an end.

            The kid was obviously determined to avoid being pulled over, so much so that he drove on the grass near a crowd in an effort to get away. I’m not sure how many people that he would have needed to kill in order for you to understand the obvious problem.

          • 0 avatar
            slow kills

            Hello, crossing lanes into a car is predictable? Who expected such idiocy?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You’re entitled to your bizarro interpretation of events, but it doesn’t seem to be grounded in any sort of reality.

            The kid was an unlicensed armed menace who had already come close to hitting people. If you can’t see the problem here, then your eyes must be screwed shut.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The truck appears to be a 2500 diesel (judging from the sound and the black smoke coming out of the exhaust). Those weigh over 7000 lbs.

    Assuming that the driver of the truck is the parent of one of the kids on the playground, I don’t see much of a case against him. Especially when we’re talking about children, adults — especially parents — are entitled to act in their defense. Pretty clearly the kid in the stolen car was not acting negligently; he was acting deliberately. And he was threatening those kids on the playground with lethal force. So, a potentially lethal response would seem to be justified.

    As for the cops, they may have been doing their job, but they clearly were not in control of the situation. They could be chasing that kid from now until when his fuel ran out — or they managed to get backup to do what they guy in the truck did. At best, they might have pulled even with him and forced him off the road.

    Unless they are from the upper west side of Manhattan, it’s hard to imagine a jury convicting this guy of anything, or awarding any damages to the kid.

    As for the kid being unable to see over the steering wheel, in some farm states, you can (or could) get licensed at 14 or even 13. I worked on a ranch when I was 14; that’s where I learned to drive (a pickup truck, among other things). Although there was no question about me driving on public roads: not gonna’ do that. I was also about 5′ 10″. I went back home to Virginia at the end of the summer and had to wait until the next year, when I was 15, to be licensed.

    It’s very fortunate that none of the kids on the playground were hurt. The 14-year old might have ended up doing some serious time for that.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm

      PCH101 summed it up nicely. We as mature adults have to take everything into consideration when making a decision, sometimes a snap decision as the owner of this RAM did. We live by the decisions we make and as mature adults take full responsibility for them. Yes, he may have opened himself up to a civil suit, but he would rather deal with that than the (possible) anguish of seeing his, or another, child harmed or killed.

      So for those of you that the driver was wrong, how would you feel if you just stood by watching this whole scene play out and then see your kid (or that of a friend) killed or maimed because you were too cowardly to do anything?

      Those that can do, those that can’t criticize.

      • 0 avatar
        its me Dave

        Nice false dilemma. So this father has only 2 choices: either stand by (because he’s too cowardly to do anything) or get in his truck and steer it into a head on collision with a stranger. How about a 3rd option: just grab the kids and get them the hell out harm’s way.

        The whole “think of the children” is a red herring. He could have made quick, effective, low-risk interventions to remove the kids from the source of danger. Instead, he grabbed his keys, started the truck, positioned it in anticipation of the Veloster’s next lap, and drove directly into the source of danger. Because SAFETY! This guy didn’t care about anyone’s safety, he just cared about some adolescent sense of honor and reverted to his teenage conflict management skills.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Where’s Rock Throwing Lambo Man when you need him? Maybe he’d deign to go after a Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I think this guy is more Rambo than hero. How would he feel if in pursuit of this young man he managed to hurt or kill an someones child? This was better left to the police.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Of course I wasn’t there, but I wonder what prevented the police from just clearing out the area and then going after the perp.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Establishing a perimeter against someone in a vehicle takes time and a lot of manpower…which doesn’t seem to be in abundance in either video. Clearing people out is not as straightforward as you might think, because when confronted with danger people often fix in place. I’ve seen it with earthquakes, bomb threats, fires, you name it.

      People who have no regular experience with life-threatening danger often do not react appropriately when it shows up. Personally if I watched a guy running from the cops tear through an area I was in with my kids I’d be hauling booty to get them the hell out of there the second it was feasible to do so.

      But people often stick around in a situation like that and get hurt or at the very least complicate emergency response as a result.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    This plays a lot into the ongoing discussion about Class 7 and 8 truck crash safety, and how such trucks interact with little hatchbacks. It looks like a majority of the car’s crash structure got bypassed, no way did the shotguns load up correctly.

    NHSTA needs to have a talk about lifted trucks, giant freaking pickups, and how we want to ensure that crash structures actually load up in a crash. Had the Hyundai gotten hit from the side, it almost certainly would have resulted in severe injury.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Interesting situation we have here.

    It used to be, long ago, that if you shot a burglar, no court in the land would say that he had cause to sue you because of the fact that he was in your house to commit a crime, and he’s lucky that your shot wasn’t fatal. Nowadays, the courts will allow him to try to take you for everything you’ve got.

    This little punk crossed several lines.

    First, he was needlessly endangering people (and just for the record, I don’t believe that a child has more inherent worth than a grown man or an elderly woman – all human beings have the same infinite value). Cue the torches and pitchforks.

    Second, he didn’t run the calculations properly. When I was younger, I was able to get away with quite a bit of vehicular insanity because I would only pull a stunt if three conditions existed SIMULTANEOUSLY:

    1 – I was pretty sure I could pull it off.
    2 – I was pretty sure I could get away with it.
    3 – I was pretty sure I wouldn’t endanger anyone doing it.

    Nothing’s 100%, but this dude apparently violated all three. So he deserves to get busted.

    Third, he chose to pull this crap IN A VELOSTER.

    A VELOSTER!

    THE UGLIEST FUCKING CAR IN AMERICA. That alone demands a nickel upstate.

    I believe that rules are necessary and that government exists for a reason. I believe in law and order – but only so far and so much.

    But the police can’t be everywhere (thank God), people have to be prepared to do what they need to do, and this “duty to retreat” business is insanity.

    Cause I’d be the guy who rammed a reckless joyrider to keep my kids from being hurt or killed.

    And I’d get convicted of being an Asshole Defendant because the jury didn’t like the look on my face or my tone of voice in answering the prosecutor’s questions, regardless of the rightness or wrongness of what I did.

    You gotta protect your kids, and frankly that means that sometimes, you have to go out of bounds. You don’t get a passing grade as a parent otherwise.

    Hopefully, the law recognizes what the Ram Guy did was right and leaves him the hell alone.

    Seriously, a fucking Veloster…..

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’m a Hyundai fan, but you’re right about the Veloster’s ugliness. Grandpa should carefully consider what he replaces it with.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      No way, the Juke is way uglier than the Veloster. Like so many Hyundai designs, the Veloster almost looks good but misses the mark in several little ways. The Juke just has no redeeming design qualities.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I didn’t hear about this until I got this E-Mail .

    Amazing how foolish some kids are .

    Glad no one was hurt / killed .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The truck driver is a hero…and a lucky fool. Sometimes the line between them is very thin indeed…and this could have ended VERY badly for everyone involved in a million ways, not the least of which would have been the death of the stupid 14-year-old driver, or some other kind of vehicular mayhem that would have endangered bystanders.

    No, some 14 year old kid does NOT deserve to die because he took a car for a reckless joyride. Plenty of stupid 14-year-olds grow up to be perfectly responsible adults. This may turn out to be one of them. If not, then I suppose the Ram will haunt him to the end of his days…like Christine…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hswdAen6xpA

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I keep thinking about the kid stealing Grandpa’s car .

    FWIW , when my Son was 17 he once took one of my Vintage Motos sans permission when I was far away , it was a Suzuki twin with 5 speed tranny , two stroke and quite speedy .

    He puttered it down to his girlfriends house and parked it by the curb , showed it to her and when he left some Woman idiot in a big Dodge van pulled a U – Turn from the curb without looking just as he passed her , hit him and knocked him flying across the street , he missed a fire plug , tree and street sign , landed unscathed in some grass .

    I got a call from the CHP in the Emergency room , dropped my GF off and hustled on over ~ he was O.K. , the Chippie looked at me and said ” I imagine you’re going to be rougher on him than the Courts so I’ll let you handle this ” and left .

    My Son was terribly ashamed as I’d already told him to never , _EVER_ operate any of my vehicles sans permission .

    I just told him that was the end of that collectible fast Moto , the next day it was gone , I gave it away and he learned a valuable lesson .
    You have to raise up kids right and consistently so they understand not to make bad choices when you’re not there .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Sounds like you did the right thing, but unfortunately parenting isn’t exactly an exact science. You can be 100% responsible, and do and say all the right things, and some kids will still end up screwed up and out of control.

      Count your blessings!

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I wonder if that police department put a couple of RAM 2500s on order today?

  • avatar
    Roland

    Ram: grab dilemma by the horns.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “That’s some nice work, Simpson.” – Syracuse Police Chief Clancy Wiggum

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Jack – Brilliant headline, by the way.

  • avatar
    rolosrevenge

    Everyone should read more details. http://www.standard.net/News/2014/06/02/Police-arrest-juvenile-after-chase-through-Syracuse.html

    The kid also stole a gun and police initially were chasing him because of reports that he was brandishing it at people. Add that to the fact that he almost ran down kids in the park and this punk is quite lucky to not have been gunned down by police.

  • avatar

    With the right choice of words, they would have to first prove he didn’t just take the turn to sharp and happen to stop a rogue kid.

    That being said, we accept police because they protect us. This guy may have just being doing the same thing. I don’t trust ANYONE to know what is best for me so I don’t believe in blanket acceptance or rejection of concepts. Black and white is rather dangerous. In this particular case I think right was done.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Seems nobody has pointed out something which I immediately noticed. In this dangerous, potentially deadly situation – there are still children standing around WATCHING the action. Who is standing in front of the camera, cheering when the truck hit the car? A child.

    The kid was making laps for attention because he had a cheering audience. The people were not a safe distance away, given they didn’t know what was wrong with the person/kid driving the car. Everyone -should- have been too busy being 1) far away, or 2) running further away, to be TAKING PHONE VIDEOS. Anyone not leaving the situation when they had the chance, but rather taking videos should be ticketed.

    And FWIW, I agree with the truck driver’s response. Lap three, big audience of people cheering, no police intervention. What do you do, wait for him to mess up and crash into the audience, or run out of gas? Nah, end it.

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      I’m in total agreement with the first two paragraphs. This was a spectacle, not an immediate threat to life and limb.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Exactly. Where were these kids’ parents? No WAY I’d have let my kids hang around in the front lawn taking videos while some stupid kid plays Ayrton Senna in my subdivision. I’d have them in the house in five seconds flat.

  • avatar
    hybridkiller

    Going after someone with a motor vehicle constitutes use of deadly force, regardless of speed. The principle elements for justifiable use of deadly force against a threat are Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy (I’m sure carrya1911 covered this already, but his post was tl;dr). In this case all 3 were present, so legally dude would have been justified IN THE ABSENCE OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT PRESENCE. The problem arises when the police are already on scene and have engaged the perp in some fashion.

    I agree with everyone who pointed out that the same decisions and actions by Ram driver could just as easily have resulted in a very bad outcome, but this is more about him getting in the way of police procedure and training than it is about use-of-force justification.
    And whether or not they decide to charge him will likely depend on how strongly they want to discourage this sort of thing in the future.

    The fact that dude chose to do this with cops on scene will put him in a much weaker position in civil court. I would NOT advise doing what he did.
    (don’t taze me bro).


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