How Local Agencies Handle High-Speed Chases

MGN Online
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SPARKS, NV - We see them happen in action movies: high-speed chases down freeways going more than 90 miles per hour. However, when we see them happening on our streets, agencies around the area have a different way to handling things. Tuesday night's half-hour pursuit on I-80 east of Sparks highlights what they go through during a high speed pursuit.

The chase didn't end well for Christopher Larson or his car, but then they almost never do.

It all started when the 51-year-old got into an altercation with a woman at an AM/PM in Sparks. When police located Larson, they say he refused to get out of his car, but began an aggressive high-speed chase through neighborhood streets. Concerned over the public's safety, Sparks police called off the chase.

Eventually, Larson led pursuing officers onto the freeway and to Fernley, where he briefly stopped before taking off again, while running over an officer's foot while speeding away.

"He got off the freeway and made a U-turn basically and headed westbound on the interstate," said Lt. Jim Peterson from NHP.

That's when Nevada Highway Patrol took over. With the open road, a full pursuit began. One of the most important aspects to a high-speed chase is communication. A few words on the radio can help end a pursuit before it gets any worse.

"It can be easy to outrun an officer in that car but it's almost impossible to outrun the radio to the next officer who may be ahead of where they are going," said Trooper Dave Gibson from NHP.

Troopers were able to successfully spike Larson's tires. After the spike he exited the freeway on Vista, where they were able to apprehend him.

The spikes are a last-ditch effort to stop a pursuit,but his wasn't the only car that got caught in the mix. A UPS truck and an NHP patrol car also went over the spikes. NHP says it will pay for the damage to any vehicles that go over spikes in high-speed chases.

"We are responsible for any traffic that we've initiated, whether it be a regular traffic stop or if someone continues to flee, we don't want to just have the regular public involved and getting hurt," Gibson said.

Trooper Gibson says if you are caught in the middle of a high-speed chase, don't slow down; instead, pull over onto the shoulder and get off the road immediately.

Larson is facing a DUI charge, battery with a deadly weapon and eluding and obstructing an officer.