CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – 10 On Your Side noticed a trend in our news coverage — a growing number of Chesapeake Police pursuits that ended in injury or death to innocent bystanders.
Norfolk Attorney Mike Goodove is representing a local client left with serious injuries as the result of a Chesapeake police pursuit that ended in a crash last year. He is alleging in a $16 million lawsuit that four unnamed Chesapeake Police officers, and the man they were pursuing, Terrik Rice, of actions that were negligent, grossly negligent, and willfully and wantonly negligent.
“We aren’t saying the police shouldn’t do their job, but this is ridiculous,” Goodove said.
Goodove represents Michael Davis, who on February 21, 2022, ended up in the hospital with a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a permanent scar on his face, after he was T-boned by Rice, who was speeding away from Chesapeake Police, according to Goodove.
“This was a danger that was caused by this high-speed pursuit that could have been easily avoided. Number one, if you need to, break the pursuit off. You have the tag, you know the person, it was not an ongoing crime here like a bank robbery.”
Surveillance video captured by a business near the crash scene shows a violent crash after Goodove’s client turned left at a green arrow.. He may one day present this video to a jury.
“The suspect comes through here, chased by police, strikes my client very violently; the bumper is left lying on the street,” said Goodove, describing the video from his Norfolk office.
Another video shows Chesapeake police units following Rice. “Look, there is one, two, three, four Chesapeake Police Department vehicles involved in this chase.”
“It’s awful. It is rush hour traffic. This is a high-speed pursuit through the cities of Chesapeake then Norfolk. Vehicles are stopped. Pedestrians are around, bikers around there. There was no regard for the safety of the members of the community,” Goodove said.
“Where the reckless disregard for life is, the police department had an absolute right to stop this individual, but when the individual fled at speeds up to 100 miles per hour during rush hour through residential areas through school zones, strikes another vehicle into another jurisdiction — they should call it off.”
WAVY reached out to Chesapeake Police.
They would not do an interview, but were forthcoming with the following statistics that in fact do show the increase year after year of police pursuits:
|Pursuit Year||2018||2019||2020||2021||2022||2023 YTD|
|# of pursuits||83||99||112||149||204||165|
There was a 33% increase from 2020-2021 in pursuits, then a 37% increase in pursuits from 2021 to 2022.
This year, the city has already been involved in 165 pursuits, which puts the department on pace for 264 pursuits — an increase of 29% over 2022.
Chesapeake Police would not comment on any specific case, but did provide this statement in reference to the continuing increase in the number of their police pursuits:
“We will not speculate as to why individuals do not abide by the law or choose to flee instead of complying with police commands. Our city is dedicated to serving and protecting the community.”Detective Michael Hilton, Chesapeake Police Department spokesperson
Goodove said, “What we are alleging this was entirely preventable, and the dangerousness of this got worse as this pursuit went on. This was not a pursuit; this was a high-speed chase.”
Goodove also alleges the city was not in compliance with its own policies and procedures, including these statements from Chesapeake Police Department Policy and Procedure: Vehicle Pursuits.
Goodove says that is exactly his point that there appeared to be no controls or consideration, “There was no regard for anybody. The only regard was stopping this person who had expired tags.”
The City of Chesapeake is protected by Sovereign Immunity.
“That is the city’s position, but if they are acting in a grossly negligent manner or willful and wanton manner, sovereign immunity doesn’t protect them,” Goodove said.
That ultimately may be decided by a jury. So far, the City of Chesapeake does not seem to be budging on its position.
Chesapeake Police would not comment on this case.
“We went to the city of Chesapeake at the beginning, and they have not accepted responsibility, in fact they are defending this, and they have refused to compensate my client for even medical expenses,” Goodove said.