In response to inquiries from the media the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office issues the following press release:
St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office deputies are trained both in the academy and during the course of their employment on the driving techniques to be used while engaged in the vehicular pursuit of a fleeing suspect. To maximize the police officer’s ability to perform such a task; in a safe and effective manner, it would not be productive or appropriate to disclose all techniques to potential suspects. State law generally protects from disclosure such security procedures; training materials; and investigative techniques, instructions and information.
The Sheriff’s Office can confirm, however, that a deputy engaging in a vehicle pursuit must consider factors which control the methods to be used and the extent of the pursuit. Such factors include the specific circumstances of the roadway conditions, vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and the danger posed to the public by the suspect and by his or her actions in attempting to flee the officer, along with myriad other factors. SMPSO deputies are trained to use their professional judgment, training and experience in making decisions concerning pursuit methods and duration with input and guidance from supervisory personnel. The underlying concern or common thread of these considerations and decisions is the protection and preservation of public safety.
The accident on October 10, 2012 occurred when the suspect in a drug investigation, who was known to be a convicted felon and suspected of being dangerous, sped off at a high rate of speed after Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop the suspect’s vehicle as deputies were about to execute a search warrant at the suspect’s home. The accident occurred approximately a mile from the site of the attempted stop. The officers who were attempting to make the stop were able to maintain visual contact with the suspect’s vehicle, but were still in the initial stages of commencing the pursuit when the suspect crashed his vehicle less than a minute later.
The Louisiana State Police are in the process of conducting an investigation of the crash.