Police Probe Officers' Tossing Of Items At Car During Chase

July 26, 1991|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

County police are investigating allegations that some officers threwflares and fire extinguishers from highway overpasses at the car of a Brooklyn Park man who led police on a 120-mile car chase through the county Tuesday.

Police spokesman Lt. Michael Fitzgibbons said the department's Staff Inspections Unit is reviewing the incident to determine if officers violated departmental policy during the pursuit of Edward Thomas Crenshaw, 22, who police say allegedly threatened to kill his wife earlier that evening.

"We are not investigating the mere fact that they threw somethingat the car," Fitzgibbons said. "We are trying to determine if it wasone of the times when it was permissible."

An argument between Crenshaw and his wife, Dana, touched off the chase, which began shortlyafter midnight when Edward Crenshaw refused to stop for Officer David Smith, police said.

Crenshaw's wife had called police from in-laws who live in 400 block of Elwell Court after she fled the Brooklyn Park home she shares with her husband.

Crenshaw led police around the county and into Baltimore for an hour and 45 minutes, going as far north as the Harbor Tunnel Thruway and as far south as Benfield Boulevard.

During the pursuit, police said Crenshaw caused several accidents, one of which left two county police officers injured. The chase ended when he drove back to his parents' house and was arrested.

Crenshaw was charged with four counts of assault with intent to murder, four counts of destruction of property and 11 traffic citations. He was released Wednesday night from the County Detention Center after his parents posted his $5,000 bond.

Bill Krueger, spokesman for the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Arlington, Va., said he had not heard of a chase that lasted as long as the one with Crenshaw.

When asked about officers throwing items at a car froman overpass during a pursuit, he said, "I was with Michigan State Police for 22 years and I never heard of that before."

Krueger said throwing items from bridges is not in the IACP's policy for pursuits.But he added that sometimes the use of additional force, such as shooting the tires out of the car, is acceptable if the suspect is wanted for a felony.

Crenshaw's charges of assault with intent to murder stem from the accidents police say he caused. He faces up to 30 years for each charge.

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