Augusta County Deputies Engage in High Speed Chase, Juvenile Crashes, and is Ejected From Vehicle
Photo Credit: Breaking Through
Written by: Sam Orlando
Augusta County, VA – Deputies from the Augusta County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) engaged in a high-speed chase with a juvenile driver that resulted in the driver's ejection from the vehicle.
According to a press release from Sheriff Donald Smith, a deputy attempted to stop a vehicle that was traveling 86 mph in a 55-mph zone on March 4, 2023, at around 11:30 pm. The driver ignored the deputy's emergency equipment and continued to evade the deputy, driving recklessly on double lines and turning off their headlights in an attempt to evade capture.
Another deputy spotted the suspect vehicle and continued the chase until the vehicle crashed. When deputies approached the suspect vehicle, they found that the driver had been ejected from the car and had suffered injuries to their face and head. The suspect in the incident is a juvenile, and no information regarding their name, age, or hometown has been released to protect their identity.
The incident has raised questions about the policies and practices of the ACSO when it comes to high-speed chases. Some have criticized the deputies for engaging in a dangerous pursuit that put the juvenile's life at risk and could have resulted in harm to innocent bystanders.
High-speed chases “injure or kill more innocent bystanders than any other kind of force,” says Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina.
Statistics show that high-speed chases can be deadly, with innocent bystanders often getting caught in the crossfire. In 2019, at least 1,468 people were killed in police pursuits, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This number includes both suspects and innocent bystanders.
"A pursuit is probably the most unique and dangerous job law enforcement can do," said Tulsa Police Maj. Travis Yates, who runs a national pursuit-training academy.
The ACSO has not released a statement regarding the incident, but Sheriff Donald Smith emphasized the importance of parents educating their children about the dangers of reckless driving and evading law enforcement.
"The juvenile in this incident is lucky to be alive," Sheriff Smith said in the press release. "I urge parents to take this incident as an opportunity to educate their children about how traffic infractions or a criminal charge is not worth their life. Just pull over."
Charges are pending from the ACSO and the Virginia State Police. The incident remains under investigation, and further details will be released as they become available.
The incident has sparked a debate on the use of high-speed chases and the need for stricter guidelines for law enforcement agencies. Some have called for a review of the policies and procedures of the ACSO and other law enforcement agencies to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.