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Organization Aiming to Reduce Number of Police-Pursuit Related Fatalities

Zora Asberry
NewsWest 9

It was a week ago that two young Midlanders died in a crash during a police chase in Austin. Now, a non-profit organization called PursuitSAFETY wants to help make sure that doesn't happen again.

Police pursuit related fatalities happen often, which was the case in the death of 26-year-old Cristina Mendoza and 27-year-old Juan Cortez, both of Midland.

The two who were innocent bystanders killed by a driver fleeing from police. A tragedy that some say could have been prevented.

Jon Ferris, Chairman Emeritus of PursuitSAFETY, said, "PursuitSAFETY really exists to prevent unnecessary police pursuits and to save the lives of innocent citizens and police officers."

A new technology recommended by PursuitSAFETY is one called StarChase. This technology uses a GPS bullet system to track suspects and avoid high-speed chases. It's used by dozens of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and is proven to have an 80 percent apprehension rate with zero fatalities.

Montrey Lions, a resident of Midland, said, "It sounds pretty effective to me. Whatever we can use to get people that drive bad or do crime off the streets, I'm all for it."

PursuitSAFETY aims to provide support for the families of innocent victims of police pursuits gone wrong. They also offer safe alternatives for police to pursue suspects without endangering their own lives and the lives of others. 

"My son was killed when police pursued someone who did an illegal U-turn. That's just one example and it happens all the time. Some of the studies say as much as 88 percent of the incidents are related to misdemeanor violations or traffic violations," Ferris said. 

Even with the new technology, PursuitSAFETY still advises people that it is best to not run. That choice will not only give you a more serious charge but may even cost you your life.

"It's the more common sense thing to do, to just stop and take the ticket and deal with the consequence. I personally would never try to run from the police because it's just not worth it to lose your life or anybody else's for that matter," Lions said. 
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