A DUI suspect erroneously believed that new legislation prevents cops from pursuing vehicle and calls 911 for help during high speed chase
Spokane Valley, WA: A driver who was suspected of driving under the influence due to swerving and erratic driving was ordered by a Washington State Trooper to pull over. The driver however refused to stop. She felt she didn’t need to accordance with a new ‘pursuit of a vehicle’ law.
The driver, later identified as Amanda Baporis, 28, was very mistaken- turned into a ‘DUI suspect pursuit.
In fact, she wasn’t the only one mistaken. States across the country have begun altering the laws of when police should and should not pursue a vehicle. In criminal friendly, liberal states like Washington, the law has changed significantly. But it still allows for certain pursuits.
As a trooper was on patrol in Spokane Valley, he spotted a Ford 150 swerving through lanes of traffic. As any officer would deduce, he reasonably believed the driver was driving under the influence.
It was reported that once the trooper pulled behind the vehicle and flicked the cruiser’s lights on, Baporis then sped up. She allegedly then started a pursuit that reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. A person who is suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol and reaching those speeds is a dangerous.
Baporid was not alone. Two other occupants were inside the vehicle and it appears all incorrectly believed pulling over was an option. In 2021, the state legislature approved reforms for which high-speed pursuits are approved and which ones are now denied. According to a local column covering the changes of the law, it stated:
“Another bill that passed the House 86-12 on Friday deals with vehicular pursuits. The bill allows officers to engage in vehicle pursuits when there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a person has or is committing a violent offense, a nonviolent sex offense, escape or driving under the influence offense and when not pursuing has serious risk of harm to others. All house members whose district includes Spokane County voted in favor.”
Part of the conditions of the law changes require officers to notify supervisors for approval and to notify nearby jurisdictions.
State Patrol Spokesman Issues Statements
According to Washington State Patrol spokesman Trooper Ryan Senger, the pursuit in question was approved, and rightfully so. Senger also told media that the occupants, particularly the driver, Baporis that her constitutional rights were “being violated” and therefore, did not need to pull over.
In addition to refusing to pull over for the DUI suspect pursuit, it was reported that Baporis called 911 during the chase. She allegedly claimed that she was being illegally chased.
Senger responded to media by calling the 911 call- “hilarious”. You can add ironic and moronic to that.
Thankfully, they State Patrol was able to successfully and safely disable the vehicle from the DUI suspect pursuit. According to local coverage, it stated:
“Another state trooper deployed a spike strip near Belmont Road, about 7 miles south from the start of the pursuit. It disabled one of the truck tires, Senger said. The truck eventually went off the road into a field near Washington Avenue, just north of the Freeman Store, where it got stuck on a berm.”
Baporis was arrested and the passengers were free to go.
Traffic Alert: 🚨 SR 27 NB lane is blocked at Jackson Rd for police activity. Avoid the area. Updates to follow. RS pic.twitter.com/2dHE658RIA
— District 4 PIO (@wspd4pio) January 8, 2023
Other Changes to the Law
Officers were previously allowed to detain suspects under reasonable suspicion. An example would be if a 911 call was received that described an incident and a potential suspect. Officer could detain that person they believe in question while they perform on-site investigatory measures.
Officers on scene must establish probable cause first to detain someone under the new legislation. Finding the probable cause will take more time, which could hamper the investigative efforts, as well as complicate the scene.
According to a column detailing the law changes, it covered a real world example of the complications involved and stated:
“SPD officers responded to an assault call in north Spokane that reported a male was grabbing a female and attempting to pull her from a vehicle. When police arrived, they saw a female and male matching the description but no assault was occurring. The male started walking away when he saw the officers.”
It was then reported that despite there being reasonable suspicion, officers did not actually witness a crime occurring. So they couldn’t stop the male from leaving.
It is unclear if and how any laws will change once put into practice. Until then, more people will have to be victimized first.
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