How families are impacted by deaths in high speed pursuits

In light of this week’s tragedy where an innocent bystander was a victim of a high speed pursuit, 7News looks at how families are impacted by these crashes.

One study reports crashes stemming from police pursuits kill 323 people each year that’s more than the number of people killed by floods, tornadoes lighting and hurricanes combined. And about 85 of those lives lost are innocent bystanders.

“Anytime you see these high speed chases you hear of death you relive that moment you took that call and someone told you that your brother had been killed in a wreck, it’s a day you’ll never forget,” said Amy Caldwell who lost her brother in a wreck following a police pursuit.

Caldwell says it was February 18th, 2016 when Greenville deputies were serving warrants when the suspect jumped in his car and took off towards Powdersville.

“He was at a stoplight pulling out when the individual being chased by police from Greenville County to Anderson County was killed right there on 153,” said Attorney Mills Ariail.

Inside that car was Amy and Brenda’s brother Steve Burnett. Now a year and a half after his death, the pain his family felt that day never goes away.

“I can’t explain the feeling it’s there it will always be there when I see these speeds and innocent victims being killed in these chases for no reason,” said Caldwell.

So they are looking for answers, not just for their family but for families of innocent bystanders across the country.

“To why this had to happen, why it went on so long and why the public was put at risk in this. And some other things we look at in these cases and we are looking at in ours was the public properly notified that there was a chase going on were the sirens on were the blue lights flashing and were there things that put the public on notice,” Ariail said.

Well a report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police says 91 percent of all police pursuits are over nonviolent crimes. Ariail says this is where the problems arise. Should police chases even begin if the public is not in immediate danger?

“It never leaves you, you live in fear it’s just such trauma you go through,” Caldwell said.

The family says the suspect is Dexter Reeves who was charged with vehicular homicide after the crash, he is currently behind bars in Columbia awaiting trial.

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