I visited my sister in Indy over the weekend, and the big news there was about the two Carmel 15-year-olds who died in a fiery crash after the driver, also 15, led police on a very short chase before running into a utility pole. Police had tried to stop the car for speeding. The time between the dispatch from the police car announcing the pursuit and the dispatch announcing the crase was two minutes.
This sentiment, expressed by the father of one of the boys who died, was echoed by others over the weekend:
Our hearts go out to the driver of the car and his parents," he continued. "As a survivor, he's got to live with this for the rest of his life. We just hope he will be treated very fairly. I know that society so many times wants to blame someone. We just feel that would not be Jordan's wish nor ours."
But he questioned how police handled the situation. "They have so many officers here," he said. "I can't understand why there couldn't have been a more careful way of intercepting them."
There could have been, but police have to make such decisions on the spur of the moment, and in this case there wasn't really any time to reconsider. And police in such chases are in a damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don't situation. The reason 15-year-olds aren't supposed to drive is that they lack the judgment needed to make good decisions in critical situations, hence the panic and the decision to bolt instead of pull over. What if that speeding car, let go so the driver could be picked up later (the usual recommendation), had rammed into a van full of kids?