Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Terrible Tragedy

Yesterday the news was abuzz with the death of Dr. Wesley Gustafson Jr. from a police chase.

Chronicle Story posted July 29 @ 1:43am

KPRC Story posted July 29 and updated at 7:48am

A Memorial Villages Officer spotted a vehicle matching the description of one involved in recent burglaries. The suspect fled. While fleeing down Richmond Avenue, the suspect struck two other vehicles before hitting the doctor as he was exiting a parking lot. Certainly nobody likes to hear of an innocent person hurt or killed in a police chase (well maybe except for the news media). I am willing to bet money the officer who was after this suspect feels terrible. What irks me is the usual media angle to somehow pin the blame on the officer. Usually the chronicle champions the argument of letting the inmates run the prison. However, in this case, the chronicle has a more detailed story than KPRC channel 2.

KPRC reports;

"The suspected burglar's identity has not been released, but police said he will face a felony murder charge."

The chronicle reports:

"The man who hit Gustafson while evading police, Danny M. Shipp, 38, of New Orleans, will be charged with felony murder, said Harris County prosecutor Warren Diepraam."

KPRC quoted a friend of Dr. Gustafson "We can follow people until (they) run out of gas, but today an innocent man died," friend Dick Tindal said. "I think that's terrible."

While I sympathize with Mr. Tindal, sadly he is not being realistic. He is right, this is terrible. Nobody should be hurt, or killed in a police chase, especially an innocent civilian. The reality is, whenever we step out of the door and get into our cars, we are taking a risk. When you are driving down the street in your car, you have a higher risk of being injured in a crash with another citizen than in a police chase. All people can do is be careful. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep checking those mirrors and in both directions. May Dr. Gustafson rest in peace, and may the criminal who killed him rot.

1 comment:

Candy Priano said...

Please visit http://pursuitsafety.org/

Candy Priano, Director
Voices Insisting on PursuitSAFETY