Indiana State Trooper hits 150 MPH to chase down speeding Dodge Challenger Hellcat
The driver of a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gave Indiana State Police one of their fastest chases ever on Tuesday evening after a trooper spotted the high-performance muscle car flying down I-90 and wasunable to catch up despite reaching speeds of 150 mph in his pursuit vehicle. But as the ISP's gloating news release titled "160 Mile Per Hour Hellcat Tamed On The Indiana Toll Road" hints, the Hellcat driver eventually got his due—which, in this case, is a reckless driving charge. He was reportedly passing through Indiana on his way to Maryland, and while we empathize with the desire to put the hammer down when crossing a Midwestern state, doing 160 mph is actually slower than following the speed limit when you factor in the inevitable night in jail. Trooper Dustin Eggert had just finished up assisting a motorist with engine trouble on the side of the Toll Road in LaPorte County at around 7 p.m. on Tuesday when he saw the707-horsepower Hemi Orange Challenger Hellcat whiz past him at an extremely high rate of speed. Eggert sped up to try and close the gap, and he noticed the Hellcat "continued to pull away" as he reached 150 mph in his own car. Keep in mind that this is just after rush hour on a major highway; Eggert noted in his report that the Challenger was bobbing and weaving through normal-speed traffic like it was at a standstill. The impromptu Vanishing Point remake came to an abrupt end a few minutes (and eleven miles) later when the driver got blocked by two side-by-side semi-trucks, at which point Eggert was able to catch up and pull over 38-year-old J. Jesus Duran Sandoval. Sandoval admitted that he had been driving "a bit more than 160" and was immediately arrested and taken to the county jail. Believe it or not,he's actually the second Challenger Hellcat driver to get busted for hitting 160 mph on that very road in the last year. When these situations come up, it often becomes a question of whether the officer was right to match those dangerous speeds on a public road. All we can say is that Indiana state law gives troopers latitude to exceed the speed limit during a chase "if the person who drives the vehicle does not endanger life or property." Pursuits themselves are only supposed to occur "when the necessity of immediate apprehension clearly outweighs the level of danger created by the pursuit." Of course, the driver in this case was already speeding when the officer began to chase him. A reckless maniac weaving through traffic at 160 mph does present an immediate and obvious danger to the public, and chances are police would argue that adding an officer with high-speed training to the mix doesn't increase that danger enough to outweigh the benefits of stopping the offender. It's also worth mentioning that Eggert backed off once he reached 150 mph and radioed ahead to warn other units instead of pushing his car any further. And as the Indiana State Police ominously concludes in the release, troopers "will take necessary action" to enforce the rules of the road—something this Hellcat driver won't forget any time soon.
Pennsylvania State Police introduce new tool in opioid battle
The Pennsylvania State Police have launched what officials describe as a “first of its kind” online tool for local police and troopers to submit information about overdoses. The tool will help police coordinate efforts to combat drug trafficking and it will feed information to the governor’s opioid task force so they can quickly recognize and respond if there are hot spots of dangerous drug activity, said Capt. Troy Hyman, director of the intelligence division of the state police. The Pennsylvania Overdose Information Network (ODIN), which debuted last week, is a centralized repository to track overdoses, naloxone administrations, and investigative drug information that may be used by police, public safety, and health care professionals to better track and share all types of information related to opioid abuse in their communities. Preliminary figures show 5,260 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses in 2017. In 2016, heroin and opioid drug overdoses claimed 4,642 lives in the state. “For law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, ODIN provides crucial data about overdoses, heroin seizures, locations of opioid-related incidents, and other critical information to aid in the apprehension of offenders who bring illegal drugs into our communities,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “This technology allows law enforcement to streamline real-time data sharing so actionable information does not slip through the cracks.” State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski said that in its first week of operation, 78 agencies fed information into the system about 342 incidents. Hyman said that state police have been encouraged by the response from their counterparts in local police. There are a little more than 1,000 police departments in Pennsylvania, though, a 2014 state legislative study estimated that 72 percent of them have 10 or fewer officers. Just over half of the state’s 2,500 local municipalities lack any local police and rely on state police for protection. But under the state’s plan, if a police department is unable to enter their own information, county 911 centers have the capability to enter relevant data. There are no plans for the information obtained through the system to be directly shared with the public, Hyman said. But portions of the information will be funneled into other reports that likely would be available for the public to see, he said. Within the system, information will be segregated so that those in health policy can see data that will be useful to them. There will also be information that only police and those in law enforcement will be able to access, Hyman said. The data-sharing will be tremendous help to officials working at the state’s Opioid Operations Command Center, created to respond to Wolf’s Jan. 10 opioid emergency declaration, said Ray Barishansky, deputy secretary for planning and assessment with the Department of Health and incident commander for the Opioid Operational Command Center. While police can use the data to coordinate efforts to arrest drug-traffickers, health planners will be able to quickly discern if there are hot spots of drug activity and whether the state and local agencies have adequate amounts of naloxone in those areas or sufficient treatment options in place, he said. Naloxone is an overdose reversal drug that is now being carried by state police troopers and many other first-responders. Another component of the Wolf Administration’s drug emergency declaration allows EMS to leave naloxone with individuals who’ve suffered overdoses so they have it with them if they decline treatment and overdose again.
Massachusetts State Police honor fallen trooper Thomas Clardy
Massachusetts State Police Trooper Thomas Clardy had a command of the English language, one that would show up in his arrest reports. It sometimes made his superior, Lt. Michael Smith, feel like he needed a dictionary, Smith recalled Friday, as he offered a few lines of one of Clardy's verbose reports.
"...He uttered a phrase in a voice coarsened by alcohol and the words were spoke in such savage haste, as he ran them together in an unintelligible growl that scarcely resembled human speech. The obnoxious and repulsive odor that had earlier besieged me grew in potency as its repugnant pong forced me to hold my nose in utter disgust."
A crowd of State Police troopers, Massachusetts officials and Clardy's family shared a heartfelt laugh as Smith read the lines. But more than Clardy's elaborate police reports will live on. The group was gathered at the State Police barracks in Charlton on Friday afternoon to unveil a memorial stone in the fallen trooper's memory, announcing that a bridge on the Massachusetts Turnpike and a stretch of roadway will be named in Clardy's honor. Clardy was conducting a traffic stop on March 16, 2016, on the westbound side of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton when another car suddenly slammed into his cruiser. Clardy suffered serious injuries and was later pronounced dead. The 44-year-old was the father of seven children. He was an 11-year veteran of the State Police and a member of the 77th RTT (2005) assigned to Troop E. It was a bittersweet day, the two-year anniversary of Clardy's death, as State Police honored his memory. "The biggest thing that sticks out with Tom for me was his compassion, it's one of the things I learned from him," Smith said. "Whether he had somebody under arrest or they were broken down roadside or on the phone, he treated everybody with respect and compassion." On the memorial stone, Clardy is pictured with a friendly smile, something Smith said he will always remember the trooper for. "He was a big strong man, but he was a very gentle soul," Smith said. Gov. Charlie Baker said that in the weeks after Clardy's death, he heard one phrase repeatedly. "Tom Clardy was a great guy," is what everyone said, Baker recalled. "Over and over again that was the message." Baker said he hopes that as the years go by, and one day when repairs are made to the bridge and roadway, people will see the Clardy name and want to know more about who the trooper was. Reisa Clardy and her children looked on quietly as Smith shared his heartfelt memories of Clardy, and as Baker and State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin unveiled the memorial stone. "Truthfully, it's hard for me to know what else we can say to Reisa and her family," Baker said.
Off-duty trooper saves man's life with a tree branch and a t-shirt
An off-duty New Jersey State Trooper used a tree branch and a T-shirt to save an auto accident victim's life this week. Trooper Kenneth Minnes was traveling on the Atlantic City Expressway in Gloucester Township around 2:30 p.m. on Monday when he came upon an overturned, small truck that had run off the road and struck several trees, police said. Another motorist had already stopped to assist the two occupants of the smoking vehicle and Minnes helped move them away from the truck before it was consumed in flames. When Minnes noticed the passenger, a 25-year-old man, was bleeding heavily from an arm wound, he grabbed a T-shirt and a piece of tree branch to fashion a makeshift tourniquet, he explained during an interview Friday afternoon. This stemmed the blood loss until EMTs arrived. The occupants were airlifted from the scene. Both remain at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. Minnes has been checking with hospital staff to see how they are doing. "I've been calling them every day," he said. "Both of them are in bad shape." The passenger was in stable condition as of Friday. The accident was so bad, police couldn't initially determine the make of the vehicle, State Police spokesman Lt. Ted Schafer said. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.