How often do highway patrol chases end in crashes? I-Team finds out

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I-Team found how often chases by state troopers end in crashes. We looked into it after we saw a number of chases in recent months end that way.

The I-Team filed a special request. We looked at pursuits by troopers from the Cleveland post. Over the last 3 years, 185 chases, and nearly a third (28%) ended in crashes.

A state patrol spokesperson says chases always involve balancing safety on the road against the risk of the driver trying to get away. Tough calls.

Cleveland Police chase almost no one since a big pursuit in 2012 turned deadly.

And, in fact, during the period we checked, troopers or their bosses called off about a third of their agency’s pursuits.

Lt. Robert Sellers said, the Patrol’s command staff reviews every chase starting with the driver speeding off. He said, “Why are they running? Why didn’t they just stop?” “He added, 'We're not only looking at what the troopers actions were, but we're also looking at what the supervisors actions were.”

The chases that make headlines always seem to go on for miles and end in crashes. But the patrol points out, most pursuits last less than two minutes. Even if someone drives off for a block, that is still considered a chase.

As part of our request, the Patrol said it reviewed nearly 90,000 traffic stops. Less than one percent lead to a chase. Still, troopers say they’re always reviewing and revising their chase policies.