Crime commission endorses new police pursuit rules inspired by Fairfax case
The Virginia Crime Commission has endorsed a proposed law designed to ensure that police pursuits don't endanger other drivers on the road.
The bill would require that emergency vehicles passing through an intersection where traffic laws would require that they stop either go ahead and stop at the intersection or proceed through it at a safe speed, with their sirens running and, as necessary, their lights on.
The legislation will be considered by the General Assembly when it convenes in January. The proposal was inspired by the case of Ashley McIntosh, a teacher's assistant who was killed when her car was hit by a vehicle driven by a Fairfax police officer who ran a red light. McIntosh's mother has been pushing for such legislation.
Some law enforcement members had expressed hesitation about imposing new restrictions on police during pursuits. Existing law allows emergency vehicles to disregard traffic rules provided they take due regard for safety. But the Crime Commission, a panel composed of delegates, senators and citizens, endorsed the proposal unanimously after it received the support of Col. W. Gerald Massengill, former superintendent of the Virginia State Police.
UPDATE 3:34 p.m.: Washington Post staff writer Tom Jackman passes along a response to the Crime Commission vote from Cindy Colasanto, McIntosh's mother, who has been pushing for legislation. "I am extremely pleased with the unanimous endorsement of the Virginia State Crime Commission to clarify the law on emergency vehicles proceeding through red lights. My sole purpose, since the trafic death of my daughter Ashley in 2008, has been to make Virginia's roadways safer for both motorists and law enforcement personnel. I look forward to working with the members of the Virginia General Assembly in January to gain their support of the Crime Commission's endorsement and pass the new law."
Rosalind S. Helderman
| December 8, 2010; 2:27 PM ET
Categories: Fairfax County, Rosalind Helderman
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Posted by: josh703 | December 8, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse