Attempts at fleeing from law enforcement usually make the situation more dangerous for both the suspects and the officers involved, due to the possibility of accidents. Police are authorized to use force to detain anyone involved if the situation starts to become violent or they need to defend themselves.
A group of teenagers made national headlines when they attempted to run over a Montana police officer who tried to initiate a traffic stop. The officer who was hurt on the scene suffered from various injuries, and he needed to be treated with surgery at a local hospital.
Teen driver injures police officer during attempted flight
According to local police in Billings, Montana, the incident began in the early morning hours of Saturday February 15th when they had tried to stop the same vehicle multiple times. When they finally caught up to the vehicle, they issued verbal commands to the driver and began to approach the vehicle. During this process, the driver suddenly jammed on the gas and went straight at the officers on the scene. One of the Lieutenants from the Billings department said that an officer in the path of the vehicle was injured from their actions. They described his condition as serious, but not life threatening. The officer’s name and identity were not released, but the department confirmed that the victim was 35 years old and a six year veteran of the Billings police force.
After the suspect’s car drove off, it evaded police for a short time, then crashed not too far from where the officer was struck. All six teenagers in the car attempted to flee on foot, but they were apprehended before they got very far. Five females between the ages of 13 and 16 were among those inside the vehicle. The 14 year old driver was a male who was arrested and turned over to youth services. His being charged with multiple crimes, including attempted homicide.
The local agencies who came into contact with the teens that night did not release any of their identities. The authorities in Billings are expected to conduct a full accident investigation into the car chase and related crimes.
Conflicts between cops and citizens
Tensions between the public and police have been high in recent years due to a number of highly publicized incidents of police brutality and misconduct. In addition to protests and political action, there have been stories of people who have attempted to harm police officers with violence. There is a general sense that the level of trust between the local police and members of their communities is at an all time low in certain parts of the United States.
Criminal charges against minors
While juveniles generally do not spend as much time as adults in prison for comparable offenses, judges who are assigned to criminal cases involving juveniles can still hand down lengthy sentences, but there are certain restrictions on maximum sentences for juveniles.
Felonies for crimes related to attempted murder can still have serious consequences and include prison sentences of more than a decade. Attempting to flee or elude law enforcement is also charged as a separate crime in addition to the underlying offense. Juveniles are given the same procedural rights as adults to obtain legal counsel and try to present a defense.