An Austin police officer rammed an SUV with a patrol cruiser after the vehicle had driven through an active crime scene following a deadly collision on Loop 360. The officer was able to bring the vehicle to a full stop just before it struck a nearby tow truck.
Details of the Incident
The story began on the morning of Friday, July 30th, at around 1 a.m. when an accident occurred on Loop 360 just south of the Pennybacker Bridge. According to Austin police (APD), two vehicles were involved in an accident that resulted in at least one death.
Four individuals were traveling in a white four-door car heading north on the Loop when their vehicle was rear-ended by a red SUV. As a result of the collision, one of the vehicles rolled, and the driver of the red SUV was thrown from the car, leaving them in critical condition. One other individual was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and later died.
Following the collision, the northbound lanes of the Loop were shut down for a time while the investigation and cleanup were underway.
However, while officers were still investigating, another vehicle drove through the scene. An SUV had broken through the barricades, passing through the scene before being rammed by an APD vehicle. According to authorities, the SUV was brought to a stop just before colliding with a tow truck.
According to KXAN, the officers spoke with the SUV driver before letting them leave in their vehicle. While charges have not been filed at this time, the possibility of charges being brought has not been ruled out.
The owner of a local towing company emphasized how roughly 75% of the time he’s called to a scene, a driver will pass by without moving over or slowing down.
In Texas, drivers are required by law to either move over or yield for emergency vehicles or tow trucks on the side of the road. Drivers should reduce their speed to at least 20 miles below the speed limit if they are unable to move over in time. Failing to abide by this law can earn drivers up to a $500 fine or more if someone is injured due to their negligent actions.
Using Police Cars to Stop Fleeing Vehicles
Believe it or not, stopping a fleeing suspect’s vehicle by striking it with your own is a well-recognized method of ending a police chase. While the implication of the report above is that the officer involved simply rammed the suspect’s SUV, there are specific maneuvers that police are trained to carry out to stop a fleeing car.
Perhaps the most well-known of these tactics is the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT). In this maneuver, officers drive alongside a suspect and position their own vehicle either slightly ahead of or behind the suspect while matching their speed. Then, the officer pulls their vehicle towards the suspects’ and accelerates, forcing the suspects’ vehicle to turn sharply or flip around. Finally, the officer taps the brakes to disengage.