SHOULD HPD CHANGE IT’S PURSUIT POLICY AGAIN?
It was around 11 am when a high speed police chase ended up in a southeast Houston neighborhood. Police were chasing 23 year old Dennis Evans. A New Orleans evacuee who allegedly stole a car and tried to elude police at high speeds. When Evans entered Astoria and Teaneck Streets police say he slammed into a truck driven by a woman. That woman is identified as 24 year old Rikki Sanchez. The mother, wife, and pre-law student was headed to class at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. She died on the scene. Witnesses claim officers and suspect were traveling at speeds above 80 miles per hour. HPD maintains the officers were traveling no more than 30 to 40 miles per hour. However, Sanchez’s father Leo Rudd tells The Insite he not only blames the suspect he calls a thug but the Houston Police department and its chase policy. Rudd says the officers should’ve backed off the suspect to ensure no one was hurt. You may remember it was last August when Police Chief Harold Hurtt pushed a policy that would call for officers to back off speeding suspects. Hurtt told officers they should take down the fleeing suspects license tag and pursue him through other legal channels later. However, the Houston Polce Officer’s Union called the chief’s policy asinine. After lots of public pressure from the union and some council members the chief backed off his policy. He allowed officers to pursue suspects at their own leisure. It’s now a policy Rikki Sanchez’s father says shouldn’t be allowed. Here is the email I received from Leo Rudd – Sanchez’s father:
I feel that she was a victim twice: once by the criminal New Orleans thug who stole a car and ran into her killing her and a second time by the HPD with their chase policy that ran through neighborhoods and near schools at high rates of speed. The HPD said it was not going over 30- 40 MPH but that is at a difference with the testimony of eye witnesses. -Leo Rudd (Rikki Sanchez’s father)
What do you think about HPD’s policy that now allows officers to decide when to chase – should it be changed back to Hurtt’s policy that requires officers to back off and pursue the suspect through other channels later? Leave your comments below!
FOX 26 report: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=3021114&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.2.1