TARGET 8: Numbers show decrease in suspect surrenders during police chases

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JEFFERSON CITY - Numbers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol show that, in 2015, 6.1 percent of Missouri State Highway Patrol car chases resulted in drivers not involved in the chase getting into a crash.

The report KOMU 8 News obtained from the Missouri State Highway Patrol showed there were no fatalities of the uninvolved drivers that resulted from the car crashes and there were two had injuries labeled as "evident or disabling."

Target 8 requested this data after a May 25 car crash where a high speed chase resulted in a wrong way crash with an uninvolved car on Providence Road.

In 2014, 4 percent of chases resulted in an uninvolved car crashing, in 2013 it was 4.2 percent, in 2012 it was 2 percent and in 2011 it was 3 percent.

Since 2013, there has been a decline in the number of drivers that voluntarily stopped and surrendered during car chases. 

In 2013, more than 25 percent of car chases ended with a driver that voluntarily stopped and surrendered, but in 2015, that number had declined to 17.4 percent.

The data also showed how many patrol cars were damaged during car chases. In 2015, 21 MSHP patrol cars were damaged as a result of a car chase.

The Target 8 team's inital reporting of police chases in Missouri involved a Facebook Live with viewers who asked questions about the pursuit, and then was followed up by an on-air report.

KOMU 8 News spoke to Lieutenant Paul Reinsch who explained the process behind Missouri State Highway Patrol's monitoring and decision making when pursuing cars.

"Any time a trooper gets involved in a pursuit, they're going to be monitoring that pursuit at troop headquarters. He's going to be relaying information to them about the traffic that's out there, weather conditions, what the initial reason is for the traffic stop, and in bringing that information back to the troop, they're going to be able to decide whether to terminate that pursuit or keep going," Reinsch said.  

At the time Reinsch said that troopers take into account highly populated areas and school zones when deciding whether or not to continue chasing the car.

According to the newly-provided data, troopers voluntarily stopped 16.5 percent of all chases in 2015 because of "excessive risk factors", which was similar to the amount stopped in 2014. The numbers from 2011-2013 were higher, with percentages in those years averaging around 25 percent, meaning there has been a decrease in troopers calling off pursuits.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol did not return requests for comment on the data findings on Tuesday.

The data that KOMU 8 received was from a formal request with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and analyzed information regarding highway patrol car chases from 2011-2015. To view all of the documents obtained, see DocumentCloud below.