Runaways' death in police chase raises pursuit issues

RAINSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Rainsville's police chief defended officers' handling of a chase that ended with the deaths of two Tennessee runaways in a stolen Jeep earlier this week.

"I don't know of anything we could've done to change the outcome," Police Chief Roger Byrd said.

The pursuit of the girls, Natasha Wilson Carter, 17, and Teri Stanford, 16, who ran away from a foster home in Winchester, Tenn., began in South Pittsburg, Tenn. and ended about 50 miles away in Rainsville.

The chase was taken over near the state line by Alabama officers and ended when the teens crashed into a pickup truck near Rainsville about 7 p.m. Monday, Alabama troopers said.

Byrd told The Huntsville Times in a story Saturday that because the chase was already under way once it hit the Rainsville jurisdiction, "it was our responsibility to make things as safe as possible." Byrd said a deputy set up a roadblock at the busy intersection of Alabama 35 and 75 to prevent a crash there.

But a little further down the road, the girls' Jeep, which was traveling on the wrong side of the road, collided with a pickup truck.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)