At least 18 Raleigh Police officers were involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle Monday, far more than the department’s policy permits — except in special circumstances.
Raleigh’s policy states that “No more than two police vehicles (a primary unit and a secondary unit) shall become actively involved in a pursuit, unless otherwise specifically directed by the supervisor assigned to direct the pursuit.”
The department did not respond to CBS 17’s requests for information about the circumstances surrounding the 18 patrol vehicles which followed a stolen SUV along Western Boulevard on Monday afternoon.
Officers arrested Ronie Hyman for several charges including fleeing to elude arrest and reckless driving to endanger. He picked up an additional charge for hit-and-run after colliding with another vehicle during his multi-mile drive with police in pursuit.
Hyman was the only person to suffer any injuries from the chase, after the vehicle he was driving crashed during multiple tire blowouts.
Raleigh’s vehicle pursuit policy calls for a primary and a secondary vehicle.
“The secondary unit will remain far enough behind the pursuing officer, so as not to become involved in any accident that might result. The assisting unit will act as a check in for securing the vehicle and persons in the event the suspect vehicle is stopped.”
The trailing officer or deputy is supposed to serve as the communications point of contact with emergency operations.
Police radio traffic recorded during the chase revealed that someone asked how many patrol cars were behind him the chase, and an officer responded: “I’ve definitely got enough.”
Additional responding vehicles have a set of requirements, which include:
- Uncommitted patrol units may not engage in any pursuit that already has a primary and secondary unit unless authorized by the supervisor who is monitoring the pursuit.
- Uncommitted patrol units will not make an emergency response towards an active pursuit in order to become a secondary unit in the pursuit unless authorized by a supervisor.
- Uncommitted patrol units in the area may move toward the vicinity of the pursuit while obeying all traffic laws and not engaging emergency equipment.
- All other uncommitted units will remain aware of the direction and progress of the pursuit, but will not actively participate unless specifically authorized as described above.
A dash camera video provided to CBS 17 by a viewer shows the 18 patrol vehicles with their emergency lights flashing.
“I realized there was like 15 all at once,” witness William Gay said.
The Cary, Durham, and Fayetteville police departments have similar policies which call for two active vehicles, as do the Durham and Wake County sheriff’s offices. There are provisions for the primary and assisting vehicles to switch positions if necessary, but a marked car must take the lead as soon as possible.
Garner Police designate a three-vehicle team for pursuits, and call for a canine unit to serve “as an assisting unit in pursuits to aid in apprehension or tracking of suspects.”
A Raleigh family hopes there will be changes to some pursuit policies after they lost a daughter&;when a driver being chased by Garner Police crashed into her car.
Each agency’s policy allows for additional units when assigned by a supervisor. Cary’s policy said it must be authorized “due to extreme circumstances.”
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol changed its policies on pursuits in 2017 in order to improve safety for all drivers.
The policies also specify when officers should stop chasing vehicles they might otherwise pursue.
Here are links to pursuit policies for area law enforcement agencies: (pdf documents)