After Several Recent Car Chases, Tuscaloosa Police Say Just Pull Over
Police chases have dominated social media feeds and news websites in Tuscaloosa in recent weeks and suspects who think they can outrun the law are being proven wrong almost daily.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Tuscaloosa Police Department had a simple message for residents of and visitors to the Druid City -- when an officer turns on their lights behind you, just pull over.
"We find that most of the people who flee a traffic stop either have outstanding warrants or drugs or illegal weapons in the vehicle," the representative said. "By the time a pursuit is over, they’re facing those initial charges in addition to new ones racked up during the pursuit and quite often a damaged vehicle."
To give a sense of just how frequent these chases are becoming, here's a short and non-comprehensive list of some recent pursuits in and around the city:
On Monday evening, a driver fled a traffic stop in the area of 15th Street and Hargrove Road and led officers on a chase through the West Side, onto I-20/59, into Moundville and finally ended at the intersection of Highway 69 and Kauloosa Avenue.
The driver, 25-year-old Carolyn Wells, was ultimately charged with nine crimes, including one count each of attempting to elude, resisting arrest and tampering with evidence, all of which arose from her decision to flee the first traffic stop.
A home invasion suspect who led TPD on a short chase Tuesday failed to elude officers and was arrested soon after he abandoned the truck he was driving.
A Shelby County man in a stolen truck led Tuscaloosa Police on a nearly two-hour chase and allegedly rammed a TPD cruiser on June 20th. When he was captured in Birmingham, he was charged with first-degree theft, reckless endangerment and attempting to elude as well as multiple traffic citations.
A man who crashed his car on I-20 in late May after fleeing from police was arrested seconds after he bailed out of his wrecked vehicle. He was charged with felony leaving the scene, felony obstruction of justice by false identification, resisting arrest, third-degree domestic violence by reckless endangerment and attempting to elude.
The takeaway here is that all suspects were eventually captured and arrested, and their short-lived getaways only resulted in additional charges being filed against them.
TPD's message to drivers in the area is short and sweet -- when an officer initiates a traffic stop, don't put yourself and others at risk by trying to run away. You'll be caught anyway and face even more consequences after the chase ends.