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Revisiting Cincinnati Police pursuit policy after Walnut Hills crash

Walnut Hills crash.jpg
Posted at 9:53 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 11:31:12-05

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati police officers ended a vehicle pursuit in Walnut Hills before a crash that injured both the suspect and an innocent driver Tuesday afternoon.

Police said 32-year-old Michale Shelton, who had threatened an individual with a gun on Oak Street around noon on Tuesday, drove away from officers attempting to make a traffic stop and quickly approached high speeds.

“Once they realized they're not able to stay up with the vehicle, they pulled back, and the vehicle disregarded the red light,” said Cincinnati Police Lt. Steve Saunders.

Shelton T-boned another car at May Street and William Howard Taft Road, resulting in serious injuries for Shelton and the other driver. Shelton, who was hospitalized Tuesday, faces charges of vehicular assault and failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer.

While the officer in Tuesday’s pursuit disengaged, that's not always the case.

The Cincinnati Police pursuit policy, last revised in May 2019, says officers must weigh several factors when pursuing a suspect: degree of risk, location, traffic conditions, pedestrian traffic, road conditions and the time of day.

In August 2020, police decided it was time for another review. That month, a police chase that started in Cincinnati ended with a deadly crash in Newport. Raymond and Gayle Laible were killed and two other people were injured outside of Press on Monmouth as the suspect lost control of his vehicle at high speed.

"We always examine pursuits,” said Chief Eliot Isaac at the time, adding that police “have to be mindful of public safety."

Isaac requested an internal investigation. Nearly seven months after that deadly crash, the report has not been made available. WCPO has requested a copy of the report from the Newport pursuit.

The Hamilton County Police Chiefs Association is working on a common policy for all law enforcement agencies countywide.

FROM AUGUST: No uniform pursuit policy for Cincinnati-area police departments