HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Early Monday morning Hot Springs Police (HSPD) arrested a juvenile after a pursuit of a suspect in a stolen car.
Just weeks ago, the department made the decision to call off a separate chase for safety reasons, which ultimately ended in tragedy anyway.
Police say even though both pursuits started with a stolen car it’s like comparing apples and oranges.
Just before 1 a.m., HSPD arrested a teen after a chase in a stolen car lasting about 7 minutes. Officers finally caught up to the suspect on foot.
“This pursuit we’re talking about 12:45 at night,” says Cpl. Joey Williams. “There was no traffic on the streets, the speed never exceeded 45 mph, and we never lost sight of the vehicle.”
Cpl. Williams says the key to this arrest was safety. It didn’t pose a risk to the public.
“If that situation changed where it became a danger even to the suspect or officers or [if] we lost sight of the vehicle, that pursuit would have been terminated like the one before,” says Cpl. Williams.
Three weeks ago, Hot Springs police were in a chase with a suspect lasting less than a minute before it was called off for safety reasons. Moments later, the suspect crashed, killing two people.
“They waited too late,” says John Stewart, the brother of one of the victims. “They waited right before the crash happened to back off on them and that was too late.”
Cpl. Williams says the outcome was tragic but the decision not to pursue further was for good reason.
“You’re talking about a pursuit that stopped almost at the same time that it started, exceeded well over the speed limit, and officers lost sight of the vehicle,” says Williams. “You’re talking noontime in Hot Springs on a main street. The public is everywhere.”
HSPD says any officer is able to call off a pursuit based on their discretion. On Monday, two officers and a supervisor were involved. It was the supervisor who made the call to follow through.