Fatal car accident: One man was killed and eight other people were injured when a parolee led police on a high-speed chase and crashed into several vehicles Friday night in San Bernardino.
• CHP officers attempted to stop a car for a traffic violation in San Bernardino, but the driver turned off his headlights and sped away at 80 mph.
• A high-speed chase ensued on city streets. It ended in a four-car crash that killed the driver of the Honda and injured eight other people.
• The Honda driver was a parolee. His two passengers were a parolee and a man wanted on an arrest warrant.
The multi-vehicle crash occurred shortly after 9:45 p.m., according to a CBS News report.
California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Hesser said the chase began after police attempted to stop a white Honda Civic for a vehicle code violation on Mount Vernon Avenue.
The driver of the Honda — later identified as 42-year-old Marvin Cavil Shelton of San Bernardino — was a parolee. Instead of pulling over when the police tried to stop him, he turned off the car’s headlights and sped away.
Shelton led the CHP on a high-speed chase, traveling southbound on Mount Vernon Avenue at speeds up to 80 mph, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Less than three minutes after the chase ensued, Shelton lost control of his vehicle and swerved into oncoming traffic at the intersection with Fifth Street. The Honda slammed into a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, a Ford Econoline van, and a Honda Accord, Hesser said.
Shelton died at the scene. His two passengers – 25-year-old Ray Nelson and 22-year-old Brenton Sterling, both Highland residents — sustained major injuries. Both were rushed to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in serious condition. Nelson also was a parolee, the CHP said. Sterling had a warrant out for his arrest.
Six occupants of the three vehicles that Shelton hit with his Honda suffered relatively minor injuries. They were transported to several area hospitals to be treated.
High-Speed Chases: Are They Necessary?
High-speed chases — and response calls — often end in violent crashes. Police agencies recognize the risks. The October 2011 issue of Police Chief magazine wrote:
“High-speed driving and pursuits are dangerous, risky parts of police work. Emergency vehicle operation creates potential risks for vehicle and property damage as well as personal injury or death of officers, suspects, and civilians.”
Yet the California Highway Patrol contends that the risks of high-speed chases are justifiable for three reasons:
- Most people who try to flee on a routine stop are are involved in more serious crimes.
- The general risk of injury or death to the average civilian is statistically low.
- Without the pursuits, the criminals would get away.
In 2007, California police reported 7,120 pursuits. Of these, 1,717 resulted in collisions, resulting in 32 fatalities and 1,202 pursuit-related injuries. In 2008, California police were involved in 5,571 pursuits. Of these, 1,478 ended in collisions, resulting in 805 injuries and 19 deaths.
The 32 deaths in 2007 included 26 violators, one police officer, and five bystanders. The 1,202 injuries included 76 police officers and 285 bystanders. The 19 people who died in 2008 were violators. The 805 injured included 63 police officers and 195 bystanders.
San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyers
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