Readers React

Each week, the Observer-Reporter asks Facebook friends to respond to a question about an issue in the news. This week, we asked, “A Washington woman was injured after being caught in the middle of a high-speed chase when a state police car pursued a motorist from Interstate 79 through Houston Borough. Police have released no information regarding the nature of the chase, other than the driver was clocked traveling 85 mph in a 55-mph zone. What are your thoughts about such high-speed pursuits?”

Jim Douglas: These high speed chases must end. How many innocent people have to be injured or killed just so cops can bust a speeder? Add to that, they’re not necessary. A radio is much faster than any car. Call ahead and set up a roadblock. It’s better that an offender get away than kill an innocent person.

David Vinkler Jr.: Mr. Douglas, when a person runs from the police they have no idea why. Maybe it’s you or a loved one that person just abducted, or maybe he just committed a homicide, sexual assault. Whatever. If the police say, oh, well, let him go, then society blames the police for not doing their job. My suggestion is to turn your radio down, get off your phone and pay attention to your driving. If you are not distracted as most drivers are, then you will hear the sirens and see the lights and stay safe.

Rachel Legg-Fields: There are other alternatives.

Ryan Thompson: Rachel Legg-Fields, very expensive alternatives ... I am curious if you are willing to pay for helicopter coverage of the entire commonwealth at all times.

Jim Douglas: David Vinkler Jr., your argument doesn’t hold water. There are many other ways to catch a criminal. I have four relatives in law enforcement. I don’t care what crime was committed – killing an innocent in a high-speed chase is never justified. Catch the guy later. Maybe try good old-fashioned police work. There are many people killed and injured in these unnecessary chases, and every one is avoidable. Again, a RADIO is faster than any car. No need to chase: radio ahead. Most of these are for stolen cars, so, no, I’m not willing to sacrifice an innocent person to catch them.

Jim Douglas: Ryan Thompson, nonsense. Paying out multimillion-dollar settlements for killing innocent victims is expensive. Good police work is money well spent. No need for statewide helicopter coverage.

Anthony J. Lewandowski: If someone runs from the police, they should automatically be sentenced to life.

Roger Bryan: That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read in my entire life.

Ryan Thompson: Roger Bryan, agree. I don’t oppose enhanced punishments, but that is grossly disproportionate.

Anthony J. Lewandowski: You can’t have it both ways. Either you allow law enforcement to do their jobs or you increase the punishment in order to discourage the crime.

Sierra McConnell: Man, a lot of high school kids are gonna be screwed when their parties get busted up.

Cindy Ropos Morrison: I saw this after it happened. First off, I see a lot of people driving way too fast on 79, and secondly, this is a busy intersection and small town. I can’t imagine why you would bring a high-speed chase into this area. At some point you should just stop chasing. If you have the plate information, send them a citation. Why risk the lives of everyone in this small town? Who will replace that poor lady’s car and pay her hospital bills?

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