EPD releases body cam video from Wednesday's fatal police chase

EPD releases body cam video from Wednesday's fatal police chase

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

On Friday afternoon, Evansville Police Department (EPD) released body cam video from the two officers involved in Wednesday's police pursuit that ended in a deadly crash.

That crash killed a 7-month old boy and 2-year old girl when the suspect in the police chase hit their mother's car.

In the video from the officer, who initially approached the suspects’ car for having false plates, you can hear him say, “runner... pursuit, pursuit.” Then the four minute police chase starts.

It is dark and an odd angle, so you can not see a lot, but you can hear the sirens and then see the officer stop at the scene of the crash at Linwood and Monroe. Then you see that Officer get out of his car with his gun drawn at the victims’ vehicle. He approaches that vehicle, calling for them to get out of the car with their hands up.

One minute and 20 seconds pass from the time the first officer gets out of his car and pulls his gun to when another officer realizes that they are at the victims’ car, not the suspect's. Both cars were white.

The second responding officer was a K9 unit. In the video from when he joined the pursuit, you can see that officer come up on the scene of the crash. He notices that the white car the first officer is approaching with his gun is the victims' car, not the suspects'. That is when the pair realize the suspects' car is actually another white car crashed just down the street.

EPD says one reason they released this video on Friday is in response to concerns about the officers drawing their guns when first approaching the victims' car.

"What this video shows us not just in the images but in the words that the officers are speaking, they really felt like that was the suspect's vehicle. At that point, they were making those decisions not out of a lack of concern for the victim and her children, but out of concern for their safety," says Sgt. Jason Cullum.

Cullum says officers followed pursuit crash policy when approaching what they believed to be the suspects' car with guns drawn. He says every chase is treated as a felony stop, whether it ends in a crash or not.

EPD says a majority of their pursuits start with what is a low level offense. In this chase, a supervisor asked for the reason of the pursuit. An officer responds that it is a false plate but the car may also be stolen.

"What the initial reason that we pay attention to something is not it. So when somebody says we chased a car for false plates and people got killed. That's not a 100 percent accurate statement. There are a lot of low level offenses that catch our attention that start an investigation," says Cullum.

We reached out to Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin about this case and he declined comment. Mayor Winnecke also declined an interview while this investigation continues, but the mayor did release the following statement.

"I have spoken to Chief Bolin and his leadership team several times since this tragedy occurred. I have been assured that all of the appropriate resources are being dedicated to the investigation."

We will update this story with new information when it becomes available.

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