The Dangerous Price of Pursuit - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/1/02

The Dangerous Price of Pursuit

A high speed chase ended Friday morning with the death of a Lubbock man. Police say, the chase began when 34 year-old Gilberto Herrera got into a minor accident at 4th Street and Avenue Q. While the police officer filled out a report, Herrera allegedly jumped back into his car and headed east on 4th Street. When Herrera reached the underpass on 4th St. he lost control and crashed into a concrete pillar. Herrera died just after 1 a.m. at University Medical Center.

August 1997: 21 year-old Stephanie King shot to death, after leading police on a 50 minute chase through Lubbock streets. May 1999: 19 year-old James Bluhm runs from police and smashes into a car in South Lubbock killing an innocent bystander.

Friday, November 1st, 2002: 34 year-old Gilberto Herrera dies after running from police and crashing into a pillar. Lubbock Police Captain Richard Foster says no one ever expects to die after running from the cops, but that is exactly the risk you take.

"A person that flees from the police is very unpredictable, we can't predict what he's going to do at any given time and that becomes a dangerous threat to the general public," says Captain. Foster.

Captain Foster says Lubbock Police do have rules when deciding whether or not to pursue. "The need to apprehend the suspect outweighs the risk of the public in general." Specifically, Lubbock Police consider three things. "The time of day, the density of traffic at the time, what information is available to the officer at the time as to why the person is fleeing," says Foster.

Most importantly, police say you can keep them from chasing, by deciding never to run. Police are still trying to figure exactly why Herrera chose to flee the scene-of a minor fender bender. The officer who spoke to Herrera says he had no reason to believe he had been drinking. But they will find out for sure once the autopsy results come in.

If you evade arrest in a vehicle it's considered a state felony. You face up to two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. But in this case, Herrera paid with his life.

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