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New Senate Bill could allow police to ignore chase protocol

WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A bill making its way through the Utah senate has an Weber County mother up in arms. Senate bill 149 would allow police to violate chase protocol and avoid future lawsuits if someone is killed in the process.
OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A bill making its way through the Utah senate has an Ogden mother up in arms. Senate bill 149 would allow police to violate chase protocol and avoid future lawsuits if someone is killed in the process. That mother, Reaghn Torrie, believes her son's death led to this new bill. It’s one she hopes will be stopped way before it’s ever passed.

Torrie's son was killed in a car crash back in 2010. Now, pictures are all she has left of her 16 year-old son Wayne.

"You know how most if we think oh I like that person's shirt or they have a nice smile and we just think it, but Wayne would say it," Torrie said.

She says Wayne was sweet, but because of that he was often bullied. The day of the crash, she said that bullying had reached a tipping point.

"He felt like it was kind of the end of his, I don't know, social existence in high school," Torrie said.

Upset, Wayne came home and took his mothers car without permission. Torrie called police for help, concerned about the last thing Wayne told her.

"(he said) if the police chased him, he would hurt himself, and right after that they found him and they chose to still chase him," she said.

Wayne lost control, crashed, and later died. Now Reaghn is suing for violation of chase protocol.

"Now the policy is that he should have stood down he didn't need to pursue," said her attorney Jim McConkie.

McConkie believes their lawsuit is the reason S.B. 149 was created.

"What S.B. 149 does, it says if a police officer turns on his lights and his siren, he can do anything that he wants to," he said.

More importantly, the city or county won't have to worry about a lawsuit.

"Giving the police that kind of power and that kind of immunity is not good public policy," McConkie said.

He said chase protocols were created to save lives, and keep the community safe. If they're taken away, both McConkie and his client are fearful of what that could mean in the future.

"It’s a very scary situation for the community at large," Torrie said.

That bill is in a senate committee and should be brought up for discussion Tuesday.
We will stay on top of this and let you know what happens.

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