By on March 30, 2016

impact

For Bill Brown, it’s been a nightmare that will not end. Last year, his 77-year-old brother, Bud, a former serviceman, was pulling out of a private driveway onto Sullivant Avenue on the West Side of Columbus, Ohio. Sullivant, a four-lane road that runs arrow-straight through some of the city’s most economically depressed areas and features everything from pre-WWII homes to tire shops along its length, has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour.

Brian Fritz was heading down Sullivant Avenue in his Ford Explorer at 106 mph when Bud’s old Astro conversion van crossed the street ahead of him. When Fritz saw Brown crossing the street, he tapped his brakes before swerving into the middle lane to catch the back of Brown’s Astro at 95 mph. Brown was thrown from the van and killed. Fritz was treated for minor injuries and released.

This week, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced that no charges will be filed against Mr. Fritz. We know why that is, right?

If you don’t, then the title of the news article should make it plain: No Charges Filed Against Franklin County Deputy. Deputy Fritz was responding to a call for help pursuing an alleged drunk driver, which is supposedly why he was doing 106 in a 35 on a crowded mixed-use street. Feel free to watch the video on 10TV’s site; it’s narrated by Tylar Bacome, who happened to sit next to me in homeroom during my freshman year of high school.

It’s possible that Deputy Fritz will face what Tylar calls “professional discipline,” although surely the department is aware that any significant “discipline” would simply embolden whatever plaintiffs can be assembled for a civil suit. I’m not going to argue that what the deputy did was illegal; after all, he was running with lights on, and as Mr. O’Brien is careful to note, he was wearing his full uniform and driving a clearly-marked cruiser.

The better question is: Was Deputy Fritz acting stupidly? I’d suggest that he was. Driving 106 mph in a 35 mph zone is excessive, no matter what the reason. Sullivant Avenue isn’t made for that kind of speed. I’ve driven that road a thousand times; many years ago I fell in love with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks down there. That road is full of the kind of people who have been forgotten in 21st-century digital America: the working poor, the disabled elderly, the uninsured. They’re driving old Astro conversion vans, battered Cavaliers with mismatched tires, and other vehicles that are just barely making it.

I’m sure that there are drivers and cars out there that would be able to respond appropriately to a pitch-black Explorer bearing down on them at 106 in a 35, appearing as a distant dark dot in their vision before swelling into a massive grille a few feet from them at a rate of one hundred and fifty-five feet every second. I might be able to find a driver like that on a NASA grid, or an ALMS podium, or an SCCA National Solo grid walk. I wouldn’t find that driver among the elderly pensioners just trying to get their Astros down the road.

To be a policeman is to assume responsibility for those who need your help. The weak, the disadvantaged, the helpless. Rich, powerful people don’t need cops; they have private guards. Politicians don’t need cops; they have security. The police exist to protect the people who can’t protect themselves. When you, as a police officer, forget that responsibility in favor of a blood-red adrenaline rush in which the citizens you’ve sworn to protect are merely terrified dots scurrying out of the way of your triple-digit progress, you may not be breaking the law — but you are abandoning your duty. I suspect that Deputy Fritz now understands that. Unfortunately, for Bud Brown, he had to learn it the hard way.

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122 Comments on ““Like A Speeding Bullet”: No Charges Filed In Fatal 95 MPH Impact...”


  • avatar
    tresmonos

    God damn it. I don’t need any more police departments or murderous cops to look up on facebook to harass.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      This story has 2 sides. No one guarantee that if officer traveled 45, the old man wouldn’t cross the street in front of him. I have dashcam in my car. And I have a video for it. An old man trying to access a street I am driving. He clearly sees me coming and yet he pulling slo-o-o-o-o-o-wly in front of me. And this is this damn boulevard. I have a choice to run into curb or hit the guy. My thought… “if I hit the curb and this guy just drives away… what is there in it for me?” I decided to get as close as possible to the curb but hit the guy if necessary. There were inches… 3 inches… close.

      So, let me tell you about these old dudes. They ain’t skilled drivers

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        True, no one can guarantee that if the officer was traveling 45, the old man wouldn’t have been trying to make that left turn.

        But one CAN guarantee that if the officer was traveling 45, that officer would have had a much easier time avoiding the Astro. And would have been much less likely to kill the driver at that speed.

        I know that when I’m pulling across a 35 MPH road, I sure as shit don’t check far enough downroad to see 100 mph oncoming traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          JK43123

          Exactly. I lived in that area 30 years ago, before it started to collapse. It is a maze of driveways spilling out onto Sullivant Av. It is hard enough to look around at all the driveways when pulling out let alone think that someone may be flying at you at 100+ mph. The officer ended a life in the name of safety.

          John

      • 0 avatar
        anthroguy

        If the officer was going 45, the cop could have stopped in time…

        Hell if he was going 70 he could have avoided the crash. But 1-0-6 in a 35mph road! I dont know if anyone could judge that speed on that road or be expected to.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          You definitely have the point about stopping from 100 vs from 70… but there is nothing about it in the driver’s manual. The only thing that driver’s manual says of this situation – you must let approaching cars go before accessing the street. In fact, there is nothing there about judgement of incoming car’s speed. Bottom line, if you think, you can turn before the incoming car hits you – this is totally on you.

          You may know that speed limit on the road you accessing is 35 but you should never think in such pattern. Township could change the sign from 35 to 55 over night, before you get on this street in the morning. You never should treat incoming traffic as, “they should drive 35”.

          • 0 avatar
            01 Deville

            @ slavuta

            One would need to allow tipple the distance for a car approaching at 106MPH vs. 35. I don’t pull up in front of flashing light police cars, but I will have to say that it would be hard to judge a guy coming at 106 if the rest of traffic is expected at 35-55.

            Jack- This piece is a much more meaningful piece than trolling about masculinity of crossover drivers or Obama killing Scion. Thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            @01 Deville

            Thank you for confirming my original point. Exactly! Especially if you see a police car with flashing lights! “…Hard to judge…” You don’t need to judge – you need to let the car go. And if you judge/misjudge – this is on you. I tell you one thing, if I see flashing lights half a mile down, coming my way, I will wait extra few seconds and let these lights go first.

            And the original point is – the culprit of this is the old dude, who has impaired judgement from the age and all those medications he is taking. You don’t see much talking of this anywhere. But the meds elderly drivers taking do impair their vision, clarity of thinking and everything else.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Bottom line, if you think, you can turn before the incoming car hits you – this is totally on you.”

            Er, no. Not at all true.

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        Nah, dude. Sorry. There is no second side to a story where any driver is going 106 MPH (that’s 170 Km/H for the metric folks) on a city street which excuses that behavior. No one in power cares because the man whose life he took was just some old, poor person. If he’d killed a city councilman, you can bet he’d be in jail right now.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          I highly, highly doubt “no one cares”.

          The cop was going too fast (because of a reported drunk driver? Really?). That said, if his lights were on, regardless of the speed, Pops should have not pulled out.

          A much more unfortunate incident happened in Orange, CT a few years ago, although in this case it was two young officers on patrol playing on Rte. 1 at high speed. One of them slammed into a car taking a left, killing both people in the car. The dashcam footage is chilling.

      • 0 avatar
        Chopsui

        Slavuta, let me ask you a simple question. Why is there a 35mph speed limit on that street?

    • 0 avatar
      Hogie roll

      Oink. Between collecting revenue from people with money for breaking bullshit laws, then collecting fat pensions necessitating confiscatory property taxation, while trying to prevent crime in poor neighborhoods that don’t appreciate them, the pigs are fast running out of friends.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Obviously you’ve never lived anywhere there are no Police .

        Yes , they should be better trained and held accountable .

        Ignorant fools like you simply make it harder for them to do their duly appointed job .

        You have zero self respect posting trolling bullshit like this .

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          Hogie roll

          Nate either thinks he earned his cushy pension or loves the taste of boots.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          Except that when things like this happen, it looks an awful lot like their job is actually endangering the general public in order to enforce the laws that create revenue, and that they have no need to worry about actually *killing* a member of the public, because the system values them more than it does the citizens. And the day that actually becomes true, having no cops at all WILL be better.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        So cops are useless? Until you need one. The vast majority do incredible work in dangerous situations.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Well ;

    This certainly sucks .

    Good on you for seeing the truth here Jack .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Knew a cop was involved as soon as I read the headline. Short of stealing from other cops they’re immune to the law.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      ” Short of stealing from other cops they’re immune to the law.”

      You really have NO CLUE or maybe you’re stuck @ 12 years old maturity .

      -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Nate, ever been to Chicago?

        • 0 avatar
          mechaman

          I’m glad you dropped that line here. The ‘authorities’ (laugh here folks) just finished up an investigation of a TEN YEAR coverup involving the nephew of the former Mayor, Daley Jr. The thing that really burns me up is about the same time as nephew was committing manslaughter and getting away with it, there was a shooting death on Halloween night in the Back Of The Yards neighborhood. The mayor went off on the area residents, basically blaming them for impeding police by not telling who the shooters were – I’m betting he didn’t tell his nephew to man up and confess HIS crime. As it turned out, the police were able to identify the shooters by video. While some of their colleagues covered up and lied to protect Daley’s nephew. And to show that they are equal opportunity don’t-give-a-damn about anyone who isn’t connected, the nephew knocked down and killed a Caucasian kid from the burbs .. his mother went after them for TEN YEARS to get ‘justice’. Nephew confessed, paid a fine and spent an insulting small amount of time in jail…

          • 0 avatar
            VTECV6NYC

            Yep, I remember the Vanecko case; I was moving back to NYC from Chicago while that was going on. 90 days in jail and a $20K fine for killing a kid on Division Street. Just about as scot-free as a Daley nephew can be. “The Chicago Way” is one of the things I won’t miss about that city.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        They have A LOT more immunity than non cops. A little more is probably acceptable. Even, say 2x speed limit with lights and sirens howling. But 106 in a 35 on a crowded, busy street? No charges?

        The 2X leads in to an important point: There is NO fixed standard for police conduct. For non cops, there is a speed limit. No matter how silly low it is set, and regardless of whenever the only reason it exists, is to fund pensions in some bumfuck Nevada town; if you go above, you’re fair game. For cops, there is nothing. This deputy could have done 400mph in some land speed record attempt down that street, and a friendly judge could just have let him off. He obviously violated any “reasonable and prudent” standard for speed…. And he literally killed someone while doing it. Yet, no charges?!!!… It doesn’t take much tinfoil to conclude this story could only come out of a police state..

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Jack, a well thought out and written post. Just like yesterday’s regarding the Vibe/Matrix transmission. It’s good to see your social conscience coming to the fore.

    However someone who has studied class structure and its impact on American society would argue that the true function of the police department is to protect the interests of the rich.

    How much time do police spend investigating minor crimes or property crimes in affluent neighbourhoods as opposed to poor neighbourhoods?

    What are the conviction rates and sentences like for those from lower social/economic backgrounds as opposed to the affluent?

    White collar versus blue collar crime convictions/sentences? You can bilk retirees of millions and walk away but if you rob a convenience store of $45 you will serve ‘hard’ time.

    And finally, if the socially disenfranchised (poor/visible minorities/unemployed) stage peaceful protests or marches or venture into affluent neighbourhoods, then how are they treated by the local police?

    And I am writing this as someone who comes from a family with years of service in policing.

    • 0 avatar
      Ltd1983

      Very true.

      I’ve been a criminal defense attorney for years. The only time I’ve ever seen a case where a full “CSI” like investigation was done on a non-violent crime (not even done for all murders in the bad part of town), was for a case where a millionaire attorney and his family were robbed.

      No one was even hurt, but 4 black kids from the wrong side of town coming into the neighborhood where the mayor lives and robbing people? Shut it down. Seeing DNA samples and fingerprints on a case where no one was hurt opened my eyes to the reality of policing.

      • 0 avatar
        Frank Galvin

        I defended a few folks (good people all of them) who had received unemployment overpayments. The way that the state agency went after them was unreal. Blood from a stone. Sickening. The only way to win was to remove the matter from the admin agency and kick the S**t out of them in court.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      “However someone who has studied class structure and its impact on American society would argue that the true function of the police department is to protect the interests of the rich…”

      WHAT!?
      Are you kidding?

      So this instance is going to start this whole BLM and Damn the police crap?
      No…please…say it ain’t so!

      And yes…police spend more time chasing after crime and criminals in crime ridden communities than communities with less crime.
      DUH!!

      This crap has gotta stop.

      And yes…the idiot cop should be prosecuted for doing this.
      It is plain n simple wrong and idiotic.
      And I am sure many of his own fellow officers are looking at him with killer glances.
      But let’s keep it to the crime at hand.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @trailertrash: Please re-read the comments. Crimes involving affluent members of society are investigated in a much different manner.

        Prosecutions are also conducted differently. Remember the ‘affluenza’ defense?

        Or in Canada the hundreds of unsolved and largely ignored cases of missing ‘aboriginal’ women.

        Or in the late 20th century the largely ignored problem of what many officers referred to in-house as “homocide”?

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          SO true Arthur ;

          It’s nice to see at least some here can separate wishful thinking from harsh reality .

          -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          fishiftstick

          Any missing or murdered person is a tragedy. But while Aboriginal women are more likely than other women to be murdered, there are a number of factors at play here.

          The fact is that Aboriginal women are more likely to be sex workers and/or abuse drugs and alcohol. I have no doubt that racism is to blame for that, but those are high-risk activities that that elevate homicide rates.

          The facts do not support the claim that police treat homicides of Aboriginal women differently. The solve rate for all female homicides in RCMP jurisdictions is 81-83%. The solve rate for Aboriginal female homicides is 82%.

          Finally, while the press focuses on Aboriginal women, there is an even greater discrepancy in the murder rate of Aboriginal men.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @fishifstick: The discrepancy is in most of those cases the aboriginal women were or are listed as missing persons, not homicides. Generally switched to homicide only when/if a body is found. This wildly skews the statistics. Perhaps not systemic discrimination but widely viewed as such.

  • avatar
    Fred

    A co-worker pulled out onto a 40mph street and was hit by a guy doing 70mph. He was charged with speeding. She was charged for pulling out into on coming traffic. She was mostly okay, but it took a long time to get a settlement from insurance, because they wouldn’t assign blame.

  • avatar

    I may drive fast on highways, but I WOULD NEVER, EVER DRINK AND DRIVE. EVER.

    I wouldn’t even chance that.

    I have a “friend” (acquaintance) who got a DUI/DWI and I was disgusted by his behavior. I’d have taken his license indefinitely – maybe even 10 YEARS.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I’m curious what would warrant charges? If the officer aimed for center mass to distribute the impact more evenly to better his own odds of survival rather than braking?

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      Contrary to what they show on TV, lights and siren are not carte blanche to recklessly speed. From Ohio’s Code:

      § 4511.24 Emergency vehicles excepted from speed limitations

      “…This section does not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle…from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the street or highway…”

      106 in a 35 certainly does not express “due regard for the safety” of everyone else on that street in my book.

      • 0 avatar
        01 Deville

        Thank you!
        I appreciate the job police but misuse of authority is rampant.
        I once rode with an acquaintance who is a retired NYPD detective and he drove with his seatbelt off and went wrong way on a couple of small roads with impunity, smug in the knowledge that he will get away waving his police badge if caught.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    An unfortunate combination of old man with slow reactions (and likely reduced vision), and police car going too fast to go find a drunk driver. Nobody wins, both are at fault.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The old man is not at fault here. %*×& this part time pig.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I think the Deputy is clearly in the wrong. I’ve actually driven an emergency vehicle. In both Indiana and Ohio, EV operators must drive with “due regard” for the safety of others, even though they are exempt from traffic laws.

      Due regard is a flexible standard. If we were called to an emergency where the victim was alert, talking to the 911 operator, and not bleeding from an artery, due regard meant going no more than 10 mph above typical traffic speeds. The few times where a child stopped breathing or someone’s heart stopped altered that calculus as seconds really did matter, but I always kept in mind that I don’t get to play God with other people’s lives.

      Being a back up car to pursue a suspected drunk in no way justifies going 70mph over the limit in a city. No active shooter was in a school, another officer wasn’t under attack, terrorists were not fleeing, etc. The only immediate threat to life or safety came from the Deputy’s own actions.

      Hopefully Mr. Brown’s family pursues a civil suit.

      ORC 4511.041 (“This section does not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle or public safety vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property upon the highway.”)

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      The police officer was so excited about joining a DUI chase that he was driving at more than THREE TIMES the speed limit.
      No reasonable person pulling out of their driveway would expect a car coming at that rate of speed. Even with his lights on, he would not be visible until it was much too late.
      Double the speed limit wouldn’t have been fast enough for the deputy? 106 was probably the fastest he could get the Explorer up to.
      Since they enjoy impunity from traffic tickets, they see no reason to obey the law, other than their own personal integrity.
      He knew, or should have known the risk of driving 106 in a 35 zone. This story is outrageous because the deputy’s conduct was outrageous, and getting off with less than a slap on the wrist sends the message to law enforcement that there simply are no consequences to their actions, even when they kill an innocent person.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I disagree that the old man was at fault. It’s one thing to blindly pull out in front of normal traffic, but at a certain point, the person on the road can be going fast enough that you literally have no reasonable way of spotting him / her until it’s too late. There are several such roads in my jurisdiction.

      The road was clear, and then it wasn’t.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    You can see Mr. Brown saw the deputy and tried to turn out of the way but even if he spotted him at 100 yards the old Astro isn’t a sports car and can barely get out of its own way in the less than two seconds he had. Fritz was driving way beyond his ability judging by his dash cam.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Yeah, it’s the usual target-fixation-and-drive-into-the-eyeballs thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        Could you expand on the target fixation aspect?

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          The tendency to drive (or fly if you are a pilot) into what you are looking at or fixated upon.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s why when you cut the grass, you’re supposed to fix on a point in the distance, and not right in front of the mower if you intend on a straight line.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          In general, when you’re piloting a vehicle, in times of duress you will generally put the vehicle exactly where you’re looking. The often trotted out example is this- you’re on a deserted road in poor weather (wet/snow.) There is a single tree by the side of the road up ahead. Suddenly you have to swerve to avoid an obstacle and lose control of the car. as you try to get out of the skid, you fixate on the tree and say to yourself “don’t hit the tree. don’t hit the tree!” yet since you’re fixated on it, every action you take will send you right into the tree.

          it’s why when you’re learning to ride a motorcycle, they beat it into your head that you need to look “through” the turn you’re making. i.e. “look at where you want to go.” Because if you look at where you ARE, you won’t make the turn.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        I don’t know that target fixation is the right phenomenon here. I think it has more to do with Mr. Brown misjudging the speed of the approaching cruiser. If he saw the car in the distance and, based on his expectation of speed, expected it not to be on him so quickly, he pulled out. It can be hard to judge speeds when an object is coming toward you.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          This scenario would imply that he saw a speeding police car with lights and sirens at an undetermined high rate of speed, and pulled out in front of it anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          We don’t normally look a 1,000 ft in each direction before entering a 35 mph street. Point is we shouldn’t have to.

          I pulled on to a 35 mph street yesterday to see guy in crappy little car in my ‘rear view’ approaching at around 60 mph. He was p!ssed, but that’s his problem.

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    If a Police Officer decides to pursue at high speed, he is liable for any accidents he causes or happens as a result of him giving chase. If you don’t want to be liable, then don’t give high speed chase, it’s that simple.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …i can’t speak to the law in the state of ohio, nor the current law in the state of texas for that matter, but twenty years ago in college station, emergency service vehicles were absolutely beholden to speed limits and in fact one particular deputy was notorious for calmly following ambulances, fire engines, and other police cars to issue speeding tickets upon reaching their destinations…

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Sometime ago my shock at seeing an article like this gave way to resignation; resignation that so long as a “procedure” was in place, then the town, city, state, and federal agency will skate.

    Sovereign immunity is wonderful thing if you work in government. It protects lawbreakers, indemnifies, limits compensatory damages, and in most places – prohibits punitive damages.

    So what will happen here? No charges will be filed, the deputy will be under an internal IA investigation which will take some time, and in the meantime, Bud Brown’s estate will have a finite amount of time to file suit against the City of Columbus. Of course, since the officer has a pending IA, its doubtful that any of these documents will be able to be FOI’d by Brown’s counsel until such time as a court orders their production via subpoena, which will be vigorously opposed.

    Columbus knows they have a 77 y.o. victim whose life expectancy (according to their actuarial tables) is about up. Since he perished soon after impact, the pain and suffering is diminished, and sovereign immunity will bar any punitives. So in the end, the payout is small, and Columbus can make this go away at a modest price; threatening expensive pre-trial discovery process.

    When I was in litigation, I always preferred going after corporations. In terms of scumbaggery; the state, municipalities, and non-profits were always the worst given their inherent sense of moral superiority. I do hope that Bill Brown finds a good attorney, one who likes to scrap, and puts the screws to these fools.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Love your handle, by the way…one of Newman’s greatest performances. Damn solid film, too.

    • 0 avatar

      The level to which public employees and many politicians are insulated for acts which get regular folk fired and prosecuted is offensive to any notion of fairness.

      Having researched and written about the Michigan law that regulates how and when drivers of emergency vehicles can violate traffic and parking laws, and having discussed said law with a variety of law enforcement officers and their supervisors, my impression is that most cops don’t know the specifics of when they’re allowed to break traffic laws, and the ones who do know the laws, don’t think they really apply to cops.

      My favorite part of MCL 257.603 is “but not while returning from an emergency call”. The legislators knew that cops would cheat.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Some states/cities have ordinances in place that except in the case of DIRECT “hot pursuit” an emergency vehicle is never to drive over twice the posted speed limit and in some cases is a ‘flat’ 60 or 65mph. That 105mph dash through a 35mph zone was pure recklessness. I would even go so far as to call it Criminal Negligence and in my opinion the deputy himself should be sued for Wrongful Death with the police department as co-defendant.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    In 2007, one of my best friends was an innocent bystander to a high-speed police chase. A fleeing driver, being chased by a Massachusetts State Trooper, struck the cab in which Paul and his girlfriend Katelyn were riding. Paul died. The cab driver, Walid Chahine, died. Kate was critically injured, but survived. The offending driver was being pursued for a simple illegal u-turn violation.

    Now, Paul’s father advocates for safer police pursuit practices. Check out his website at http://www.pursuitforchange.org

  • avatar
    Dan

    105 in that 35 is firing your weapon with a children’s playground at recess as your backstop.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    “The police exist to protect the people who can’t protect themselves.”

    Beg to differ.

    Police exist to protect property rights. To translate, they’re here to protect the rich from the rest of us. If they happen to mow down a few of the rest of us in the pursuance of that duty, or while alleviating boredom while not performing that duty, we can’t really be surprised at the lack of concern.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I am not going to defend anyone who drives 106 in a 35, but the reality is that it is not unusual for drivers who kill others to avoid prosecution. And those who are killed in police pursuits are often killed by the fleeing suspects, not by the cops.

    I realize that you don’t like the cops (and I’m not crazy about them myself), but try to be a bit balanced.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Pch, what would be the “balanced” approach to Mr. Brown’s death?

      Modern news media have fed the habit of reporting every story as having “two sides” of equivalent merit. “The shooting victim’s family accuses the perpetrator of murder, while the defendant’s attorney blames the victim for his failure to wear a bulletproof helmet.” The failure to acknowledge the obviously absurd will result in the mispopulation of half our Presidential ballots this year, among other catastrophic results. Sometimes a cigar put out in your face is just a cigar.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        TTAC likes to complain about the cops. It tends to avoid stories re: the points that I presented, presumably because they don’t provide their authors with the opportunity to complain about the cops.

        This story on its own is fine. Focusing only on stories like this that involve the cops while ignoring the broader realities, not so much. The reality is that it is not at all unusual for **anyone** who has mistakenly killed another person while behind the wheel to avoid prosecution.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Valid point. Although, speaking personally, I think of TTAC’s tendency to complain about the police state as a welcome counterpoint to its equal and opposite tendency to complain about unionized workers.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          I read about the “afluenza” teen here. If you count Jacks early posts about his own highway stupidity he wrote quite a bit about dangerous non-police drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The affluenza teen has much in common with this story: It’s always THEY who are doing it while WE are the morally superior victims who have above-average driving skills.

            The reality is that if you kill a person with your car and it appears that it wasn’t premeditated, then the odds are pretty good that you will get little to no punishment. That is true irrespective of whether you are a cop or a rich kid or whatever.

            The resentniks want to turn this into an us vs. them fable, when this is another example of us vs. us. Things that happen in cars are “accidents” and juries are reluctant to punish the offenders. Prosecutors live and die by the numbers (high conviction rates), so they often don’t file charges because the odds of acquittal are too high. If you want to know the facts instead of having your daily dose of moral outrage, then there’s your story.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      PCH, does being the devil’s advocate pay well? Just curious…

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Pch, the police are not allowed to shoot at even a known felon in flight unless they reasonably believe that said felon presents an imminent threat to others. So chasing down a suspected DUI at106 in a 35 because he *might* be wanted for something? Ridiculous.

      Why do the police stop DUIs? Because they are a traffic hazard. But the probability of any given DUI causing a fatal accident is most likely lower than that of doing 106 in a 35.

  • avatar
    John

    “The police exist to protect people who can’t protect themselves” – I’m sorry, but no – in the USA, the purpose of the police is to protect the upper classes from the lower classes. Period.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I have a relative who lives near Binns & Sullivant and I can’t imagine going 50 through there much less 100+! That’s freaking insane; there are dozens of little streets, driveways and businesses scattered through that neighborhood. Anyone with half a brain would know that you’re playing with fire by going that fast through such a chaotic traffic zone. While I’m not sure charges would solve the problem, they at least should fire that cop. This simply demonstrates to other officers that they can also murder an innocent citizen with no repercussions, and it reinforces the image that cops are not trustworthy (even though I’m sure plenty are).
    I genuinely wonder when this sort of thing will come to a head.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “Brown was thrown from the van and killed.”

    This implies Brown wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m sympathetic, but the fact that Mr Brown was a former serviceman is irrelevant.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I think it speaks to his character. He wasn’t some bum.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Don’t think this makes it any less relevant if the person hit WERE a bum, though. If the police officer was in the wrong, then he’d have been equally wrong for hitting some guy who was on probation for armed robbery.

        The relevant thing is the act, not who got killed.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Agreed, Freed. Commendable observation. You hear 4,400 were killed in the Iraq War. The real figure is 250,000. It goes unreported because the remaining 245,600 were not the preferred form of humanity (in this case, American soldiers), but they were all people, and the vast majority didn’t deserve to die — as this man didn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            And all we did was pave the way for ISIS in the end. Really sickening.

            Have we realized yet that the bulk of this “Muslim terrorist” thing is blowback from Afganistan, the first Gulf war, and the invasion of Iraq? Seriously, Bin Laden was always radical, but what turned him radical against US was American troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia. I kid you not. The man lost his s**t over that. The rest is history.

            Doesn’t mean that the first Gulf war wasn’t the right move, but we have to realize that the Middle East doesn’t work politically or theologically like the Western world.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Perhaps he wasn’t ‘some bum’, but some servicemen are – even old ones. I certainly respect their sacrifice, but I don’t subscribe to veteran worship, which has become rampant in the US as a reflex to Vietnam-era problems.

        Remember, Timothy McVeigh was a veteran.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    Thugs with guns and badges. No surprise here that they’re protecting their own.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Just another typical ‘civil servant’, otherwise unemployable. There’s an IQ limit for police.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    106 MPH in a 35 MPH zone to respond to an alleged drunk driver call is the epitome of recklessness. For those of you who say that it isn’t, what if this cop was traveling at 106 MPH through a 25 MPH school zone to respond to the alleged drunk driver and hit a school bus full of children?

    Vote out the prosecutor. If the residents don’t vote this idiot out of office, they deserve the government that they get. If the next one makes the same mistakes, vote him out, too.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The next prosecutor will do the same. Professional courtesy and whatnot. The prosecutor expects the same from police.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      What if the last time you were speeding, got a text, and checked your phone, you swerved into a school bus full of children?

      You should probably be incarcerated for life to protect those children.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        319, depends partly on the speeding. If you’re checking your phone while going 60 over the limit and kill a busload of children, you’d probably deserve it.

        But more to the point, your example is only marginally relevant. This guy wasn’t just any licensed driver. He’s someone who is granted extraordinary permission to violate speed laws to fulfill a greater good for society. With great power comes great responsibility — in theory, at least.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        A person who does that would be incarcerated for many years, if any children were killed.
        Assuming that everyone speeds while checks their text messages is entirely erroneous and disrespectful.
        When was the last time I checked texts while speeding? Never.
        Hopefully most of the TTAC readers don’t either, especially around school buses.

    • 0 avatar
      JK43123

      He has been prosecutor FOREVER.

  • avatar
    George B

    105 mph on a 35 mph residential street is both insanely unsafe and unnecessary. Other drivers would have difficulty judging when it’s safe to cross the street because they would have no experience with cars approaching at that speed. In addition, how much longer would it take to drive the same route with lights and siren at 60 mph?

  • avatar
    jjster6

    The video doesn’t show the moment of impact. I assume Mr. Brown died because he was ejected from the vehicle. From the looks of the crash aftermath it appears to be a survivable crash (I said appears, I am purely speculating).

    So, was Mr. Brown wearing his seatbelt? To me that changes the calculus. When I drive I always wear my seatbelt because the unexpected can always happen, whether through my fault, or the fault of another. I don’t like what happened but if Mr. Brown failed to wear his seat belt (which is also a law) I have less sympathy for him.

    Commence bashing my opinion…

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Fair point, jjster. Not wearing your seat belt is 2) illegal and 1) dumb.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        In fairness, Astro vans were HORRIBLE in crashes; it would not surprise me that in a crash of that severity, he was ejected regardless of seatbelt–let’s not blame the dead guy. However looking at the news footage, it looks a lot more like a Chevy Beauville or an Econoline conversion van than an Astro, but I’m looking on a phone and the footage is pretty grainy.
        All I can tell is that he’s pulling out of the Key Bank lot west of the Advanced Auto. Probably just cashing a check that day…

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Under circumstances like these, death is likely and those who survive just get lucky, no matter what you drive. The speed is just too high.

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        Wearing a seat belt is not luck! And the cop walked away. Was that luck? He was in a 95 mph collision too. Did he have a seat belt on?

        • 0 avatar
          qfrog

          2nd generation Astro vans were made for about ten years, even if it was a 2005 it was basically engineered in the early 90’s. I think it is safe to say that a minimum of ten years and a maximum of twenty years separates the crash testing of the two vehicles in the incident. The deck was stacked so to speak.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          A seatbelt won’t do much for you in a 95 mph broadside.

          The shoulder belt at that angle of impact is useless. You’re effectively being held in only by the lap belt. A body flying at 95 mph to the right could disconnect the belt.

          Standard three-point belts are designed largely for frontal and rear impacts. You would need four-belt belts and a roll cage for an impact like this one.

          Some of you don’t seem to understand that 95 mph is an extremely high rate of speed, while a broadside is the angle at which you are most vulnerable as the struck vehicle due to the minimal crush zone. The cop car was traveling the length of a football field in about two seconds.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This episode however is a hearty endorsement for the Volvo derived Ford D4 though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            If there’s one thing modern Volvo can do, it’s build good, safe platforms which are modifiable for different vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Much of the force of the impact was transferred into the struck object, i.e. a van that was in motion in a direction that was away from the Explorer.

            If the Explorer had hit a wall at that speed, then we would be having a different conversation.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    “To be a policeman is to assume responsibility for those who need your help.”

    “The police exist to protect the people who can’t protect themselves.”

    Jack, The police used to be this. They used to help stranded motorists, too. It’s not often you see that happening.

    In general, the police exist to protect police or ‘the badge’- that is their first priority. Protecting citizens at large, stopping/preventing crime, investigations, etc. all are secondary priorities. If attempting secondary priorities jeopardizes the first priority, in most cases, we know what they will do and whom they will ultimately protect.

  • avatar
    dude500

    I wonder if this Deputy would fire a gun at a thief, running through a playground full of school children.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Sometime ago, my old firm went after a police department that was going out of their way to kick woman officers off the force. They were doing so because some of the newer females and some new officers (veterans who had seen too much in Iraq) were calling out the out of control Rambo types; screwing other cop’s wives, hooning CVPs in a park, firing service pistols into the air after a cop’s funeral while bleepfaced, using their CVP to knock over Porta Potties in a park, while also drunk, placing tracking devices on their ex’s cars and so much more! Anyhow, my client was written up for losing control of her car during a chase- she skidded into another car with some, but not all of her lights on. It was unfortunate, and she was new. Luckily, she did not injure anyone. Little while later, she forwarded me an email from one of the Rambo Lts congratulating Sgt. Porta Potty for his quick thinking in responding to an unarmed robbery. The moron was going in excess of 60 mph through a thickly settled residential neighborhood after school let out to take a short cut to direction of where the perp had been spotted./ No lights, no sirens – just hauling a** down a street where little kids ride bikes, play basketball, etc. Lovely department.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      I had a friend who left the Chicago force for much the same thing: he was tired of dealing with officers who were breaking the law, regulations, and other stupid stuff. Some folks need it explained to them that the police department is a CIVIL entity, and they are SUPPOSED to answer to the public, not the other way around.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Nobody wins in this one, period.

    Every time I get in my car with my vision issue to commute 100 miles R/T daily, I think of scenarios like this and others. The trouble is, when a scenario occurs, you rarely see it coming…

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Cops often back off when a pursuit gets too dangerous for other people on the road. This deputy didn’t. He wasn’t even chasing the drunk driver. He was on the way to assist in the chase.

    On a 35 mph road, it’s reasonable to wait for cross traffic that’s less than half a block away. It’s not reasonable to leave 1-1/2 blocks in case the traffic is running at triple the limit.

    I used to live in a neighborhood with winding streets and a 25 mph speed limit. One day, an old lady backed out of her driveway into the path of a motorcycle with fatal consequences for the rider. I would have blamed her except that accident reconstruction showed that the biker was going more than 50 mph. I’m sure that when the old lady looked for cross traffic, the biker was nowhere in sight. Had she been parked in the street, he still would have hit her because he was outrunning his sight lines.

    It’s the same on the interstate. You don’t blow by 70 mph traffic at 100 mph. A guy running 70 may pull in front of you to pass someone going 65. He probably will watch for someone catching him at up to 80 mph but no faster.

  • avatar
    Jgwag1985

    Isn’t it possible the cop was going more then 106mph in the 35mph zone?(Can’t see the video). So cop could have been going even faster, when van appeared on side of road(not crossing road yet, chances are van stopped before pulling out) officer started to slow down(because he saw van), by the time van started across the road officer was already slowing down to 106mph, continued to brake until impact @ 95mph. So this gives van driver even less time to react or even see the approaching pv. Just saying van driver could have had even less time/distance to judge.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Man…I hate it when I see my former heros just turning out to be just so much talk like myself.
    From the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan doing commercials to Jack just bait writing for click money.
    Just sayin…life sucks when you grow up and see your heros no larger than yourself……

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Don’t let that get you down – just adopt my motto, stolen from a very old Quaker Oats commercial: “Nothing is better for thee than me”!

      Now doesn’t that make you feel better? Sure helps me!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      How do you think I feel about it, brother?

      But let me tell you something. I’m wearing a pair of shark-skin shoes right now. Like, made from real sharks. A fig for this “integrity” business. I want to wear shark skin shoes every day.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        I love you Jack. You’re officially prohibited from dying because I want to keep reading you. Shades of Gibson in your description of the other side of the tracks, a callback to the redheaded siren your mom tricked you out of (leaving you picking up girls at Wendy’s drive throughs to this day), some HST disdain for abuse of power, and now.. shoes Hemingway would be lucky to wear. Just keep them coming.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    A car teaveling at you at 106 mph isn’t something you even anticipate having to look out for in real-world driving. Especially while backing your vehicle onto a 35 mph street. Maybe some do 50, but 106? I’m not sure I’d have been able to dodge that bullet myself, and I don’t even require glasses.

    Sorry, the old man doesn’t seem to be at fault to me. I’m betting the same thing had just as much chance of happening if he was 30 years old. Anything coming at you that fast leaves insufficient time to properly act once you notice what’s really happening.

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