JONESBORO, AR (WMC) - Arkansas State Police are investigating whether a trooper followed policy during a high speed chase with a motorcycle that ended with a crash. The dramatic end to the chase was caught on camera by Jonesboro, Arkansas, Police Department dash cameras. Two motorcyclists are facing charges.
State police said they are investigating if officers followed pursuit policy only because they do that after every chase involving officers.
According to a report by Jonesboro police, their officers only assisted in the chase, joining in after hearing a trooper's call that he was in the pursuit of two sport bikes. The report says one of the motorcycles was on the shoulder of the highway, the trooper's car blocking him from returning to the roadway. The idea, to keep the biker from getting back on the road and putting other drivers in danger.
The police report said the motorcycle rider began to lose control, "fishtailing" and hitting the trooper's car. A close review of the dash cam video released by Jonesboro Police might call that account into question. It's hard to tell if the motorcycle did indeed lose control just before impact. However you can clearly see the rear end of the state trooper's vehicle swing over in a manner that could be described as "fishtailing" just before the impact.
Piecing together the Jonesboro police report and citations issued by the Arkansas State police, it appears the pursuit began when troopers spotted the bikes speeding. When he tried to pull them over, they sped off.
The video shows that after the motorcyclist crashes to the ground, the rider is still for a moment. He then rolls over onto his back, sits up, and puts his hands up. Jonesboro officers can be seen running up to the rider, guns drawn, then handcuffing him with no further trouble. Meanwhile other Jonesboro officers tracked down the 2nd biker in another location. He surrendered peacefully.
Arkansas State Police will not comment on an open investigation, and won't say whether the trooper intentionally hit the biker in order to stop him. But they did send us a copy of their pursuit policy. It clearly states that troopers cannot use their vehicles to forcefully stop motorcycles. It specifically bans what is known as the PIT maneuver or precision immobilization technique, reading in part "PIT should not be utilized on trucks carrying hazardous materials, pick-up trucks with passengers in the bed of the truck, vans or buses occupied with passengers who appear to be victims, or motorcycles." PIT is not without controversy and banned in some departments, especially when pursuing motorcycles or certain SUVs which could easily flip.
Police say both bikers did a lot more than speed away however. Both are facing several charge. Jeremy Stone of Southaven, Mississippi is charged with speeding, driving left of center and riding without a license. He was riding a 2007 Honda CBR. Alvin Jackson of Horn Lake, Mississippi is charged with speeding, reckless driving, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was riding a 2014 Suzuki GSX.
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Chris Best is the Assistant News Director for WMC Action News 5. He's a husband and father of four, He's also a motorcycle enthusiast.