First Alert 4 Investigates: Family of man killed by fleeing driver questions whether police should have been chasing suspect

Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 6:17 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A man is currently facing charges for hitting and killing a local father and grandfather last year. However, some argue that he is not the sole party responsible; rather, it was the police who were pursuing him.

“He was hit right around the corner from his house. He was just trying to get home so he could watch my baby,” said Canise Williams, a daughter who said her family was devastated by the death of 59-year-old Andre Adams last year.

A driver fleeing from the police after an attempted traffic stop on August 27 struck Adams. Now, a year later, the man behind the wheel, Darion Brooks, has been charged. According to the police, he told them, “My life is over. I just killed someone. I don’t even know why I didn’t stop.”

However, some people have since questioned whether the police should have pursued Brooks in the first place for violating traffic laws.

Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum, emphasized, “The real important question in all of this is, is it worth it?” Wexler helped pen a new report for the Department of Justice that calls on police to reconsider their policies on when to chase suspects.

A national investigation by Gray TV found that more than 8,200 people have been killed in police pursuits nationwide in the last two decades, according to the Department of Transportation. First Alert 4 Investigates also analyzed the numbers and discovered that often those killed are not involved in the pursuit at all.

Since 2000, in Missouri, 112 people who were uninvolved in the police chase were killed during a pursuit. In Illinois, the number is 101 innocent people killed.

“It’s not that we’re saying don’t ever pursue; we’re saying, if you’re going to pursue, make sure that it is for the right reasons,” said Wexler.

Among the recommendations in this new report are that pursuits should only take place when a violent crime has been committed and when the suspect poses an imminent threat to commit another violent crime.

First Alert 4 obtained the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s policy, which states something slightly different, saying, “Vehicular pursuits may be initiated when an officer has reason to believe that the suspect has committed a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force, and a delay in apprehending the suspect(s) will pose a danger to other people.”

St. Louis Police told us: “So far this year, there have been 234 pursuits involving our agency and two fatalities associated with those pursuits.”

There is now a warrant out for Darion Brooks’ arrest for the murder of Andre Adams. This is a case we will continue to track.