Residents concerned police are resorting to chases too often

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Updated Monday, May 12 at 7:06 PM

One dead following police chase, wreck in north St. Louis County

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(KMOV.com) – A recent rash of deadly high speed chases in the St. Louis area has some residents concerned if chases are taking place when they are not justified.

The concern comes after four chases that occurred over the span of one weekend. Friday, police said a man stole a purse from a woman at a Wal Mart in Bridgeton before leading police on a high speed chase. He later died after crashing his car on I-70.

Bridgeton police did not speak with News 4 in detail about the chase but said police were justified in chasing after the suspect.

Saturday, a car that was being chased by Flordell police smashed into a telephone poll. Police said three people inside the car were taken to a hospital as a result.

"Police should consider the dangers that's involved in chasing people in a residential area," a nearby resident said.

News 4 attempted to contact Flordell police about the chase, but never heard back.

Sunday, three people died after SUV that was being chased by the Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP) crashed on I-55 near Imperial. A spokesman for MHP said police tried to use spike strips to stop the vehicle, but they failed.

The spokesman also said chases are closely monitored to see if public safety is at risk.

"They monitor the pursuit, our commanding officers, and the officers who initiated the pursuit, he can terminate at any time if he feels there was a serious threat to the motoring public," said Juston Wheetley with the Missouri Highway Patrol.

However, one police chase was called off due to safety concerns. Brooklyn, Il. police called off a high speed pursuit Monday that exceeded 100 miles per hour.

Police said they always think about safety concerns when a chase occurs, but the suspects do not.

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