There has been much debate as of late concerning whether or not law enforcement officials should be allowed to chase suspects through neighborhood and city streets. Just recently, a 14-year-old boy was accidentally killed in unincorporated Ashland, CA near Ashland Avenue and East 14th Street by an as of yet unidentified suspect who was fleeing from police during a high speed chase around 6:30 at night. It seems that the man, who was driving a burgundy Saturn that was later found abandoned, was allegedly driving recklessly in the San Leandro area when police tried to pull him over. Instead of allowing the officers to speak to him, the man took off, thus leading to the chase.
If found, the man in the Saturn could face charges of felony hit and run (CA Vehicle Code 20001). This crime is actually a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it is up to prosecutors to determine whether it will be treated as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Felony convictions under this law mean facing a maximum $10,000 fine and up to 4 years in state prison, depending on the seriousness of the injuries or whether death occurred.
More interestingly, friends and family members of Cruz must be wondering whether or not Ivan would have been in jeopardy of death if the police had not been chasing the unnamed man. According to the sheriff’s department, police in California are able to justify a police chase for any number of reasons, from minor infractions to all-out manhunts. However, it is difficult to see how this incident could have occurred in the way that it did without the police in hot pursuit behind the Saturn.