• May 1st 2007 at 1:31PM
  • 29
Common sense dictates that if you run from the police, it will end badly. In our oft-litigious society, suing as a means to evade responsibility is a popular option. In 2001, 19-year-old Victor Harris engaged Coweta County deputy sheriff Timothy Scott in a dangerous chase on rain-slicked roads. To end the chase, deputy Scott rammed Harris's car, which then crashed down an embankment. Mr. Harris was left a quadriplegic from the injuries sustained in the wreck, and subsequently sued on the contention that the sheriff used unreasonable deadly force.
The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled 8-1 against Harris's claim. Lower courts had ruled in favor of Harris, but the Supreme Court overturned that opinion. The reasoning for the decision was that while police chases are dangerous, doing away with them ensures perpetrators a means of escape by merely driving erratically at high speed. Either way, there'll still be someone running from police, endangering other innocent bystanders. While the outcome of Mr. Harris's chase is tragic, it doesn't change the fact that instead of stopping and accepting a citation for travelling 73 mph in a 55 zone, he chose to run. It's terrible that someone so young will have to live out the rest of his days with paralysis, but that could have been prevented by a more thorough examination of the consequences at the time he attempted to evade the law. The most damning bit of evidence was the video of the chase, which shows how reckless Mr. Harris really was, and likely led to the near-unanimous decision from the court.

[Source: NYTimes]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's a tragic outcome for the kid, but he should have known better. I'll never understand why people will go to such lengths to avoid a (virtual) slap on the wrist; it was a stupid move.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Oh, a car can outrun a chopper pretty easily. They're not that fast.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm still amazed when commonsense breaks out in the Supreme Court.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Electromagnetic waves travel at the speed of light.

      Even if you drive a McLaren F1, you can't match a fraction of a fraction of that.

      Can you outrun a radio? Didn't think so.
      • 8 Years Ago
      According to CNN he was also driving on a suspended license.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Fact is that all police chases endanger lives. The guy who runs is certainly at fault, but when the five-oh decides to chase him, he multiplies the chance of a terrible outcome by two.

      If you're not chased, you won't run, and you won't endanger lives.

      It's only the crazies who are going to run anyways. Do you really want to provoke more erratic driving from them?
      • 8 Years Ago
      @14: "Oh, a car can outrun a chopper pretty easily. They're not that fast."

      Wow, your level of wit is so finely tuned, I almost believed your obviously sarcastic comment was meant in earnest. Watch out, folks! If you think this master of deadpan comedy is serious, you would probably consider him a Grade A moron. In reality, most police helicopters cruise at over 100 mph, and can go as fast as 130 mph. While the average idiot can say, "Gee, my car's speedometer goes to 165, so I could outrun a helicopter!", they would in fact be dead wrong. Helicopters do not have to follow roads, deal with traffic, make sharp turns, etc. and therefore will get from any point A to point B faster than a car traveling the same speed. I'm glad you decided to toss that comment out at us, 'P to the C', I was beginning to think a lot of commenters on Autoblog were just spouting off whatever worthless drivel comes to mind without regard to accuracy or intelligence. Now I know that I can find pearls of wisdom such as yours buried amongst the dung. Thanks!
      • 8 Years Ago
      What kind of video format is that?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Too bad, so sad. You break the law, you suffer the consequences, simple as that. Cop was just doing his job. So what if the kid got hurt, he was driving like an ass to begin with. What if you or your kid was driving along that road, would you still be sympathetic towards the driver?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Can't outrun Motorola... What this kid did was wrong, but couldn't the police have handled this any other way? My dad was hit head-on by someone trying to outrun the police. Guess what? The perp had no insurance. I'm all for catching the bad guys, but in this age of helicoptors, radios and GPS, I find it hard to believe that the only way to catch a speeding car was to ram it down an enbankment.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i wanna see the po-po catch me in my Crawford Sti...

      po-po HEMI chargers are slow

      • 8 Years Ago
      'More innocent people could've died had the chase been allowed to continue. '

      Its funny how the same sentence can be used to argue both sides of the argument. Its the reason why you should crash him to end it early and the reason why you should let him go and grab him later when he tries to return to his normal life. And he will try to return to his normal life because if he's stupid enough to try to outrun cops he's stupid enpough to think he'll actually get away with it.
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