A single-vehicle accident in Salisbury, Maryland, that claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy is under investigation. The motor vehicle accident stemmed from a chase in which local police engaged with the young driver.
State laws specify that a driver can get a learner’s permit when they reach 15 years and 9 months of age. However, when they obtain such a permit, they need to be supervised with a passenger that is at least 21 years of age who has had a driver’s license for at least three years.
Both Salisbury police and Maryland State Police are investigating the matter to determine why police attempted to pull the boy over and whether or not it was appropriate to ignite a chase.
When local authorities attempted to pull the boy over, he did not stop. Instead, he apparently drove his 1998 Ford Contour through a residential neighbor.
The boy eventually struck a poll located near the intersection of Camden Avenue and Pine Bluff Road. He was transported to a medical facility, where doctors pronounced him dead.
Investigators are attempting to reconstruct the incident in order to determine what speeds the parties reached during the chase. Meanwhile, the three officers were put on leave for their roles in the chase and accident. Two of the officers were drivers of marked police cars that participated in the chase. The other officer was a passenger.
Local police policy states that police should pursue a vehicle if they believe the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They are also permitted to chase down suspects they believe were involved in serious felonies.
Media reports did not state whether the officers believed the driver fell into either of those categories.
If the officers prompted a baseless chase, they could be held responsible for the young man’s death. They could face criminal charges, or the victim’s family could sue them in civil court to seek compensation for their pain and suffering.