Monday, May 23, 2005

Experts: Deputies broke chase rules

Orange's sheriff says pursuit of an accused thief whose crash killed 2 was allowed.

A sheriff's helicopter and 21 Orange County deputies in patrol cars spent last Sunday morning trying to catch a teenager for taking his mom's pickup without permission.

I'm sick and tired of this Monday morning quarterbacking. The cops aren't the bad guys here. 19 year old Jonathon Kornexl is the bad guy. He's the clown that got high on crack, stole his mommy's truck(for the 4th time), ran through the red light and killed two innocent people. What ever happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Let's quit making excuses for the dregs of society!

Check out what Jim Phillips of PursuitWatch had to say on my show this morning.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Orange County Sheriff’s Office disregard of pursuit policy results in the death of 2 innocent bystanders

Orlando, Florida 5/22/05

Sometime before 8AM on Sunday, May 15th Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Russell Kilgore ran the license plate of a suspicious vehicle he encountered and learned that the pickup was stolen by the owner’s son and that the occupant of the pickup was most certainly Jonathan Lee Kornexl. He followed the truck to a convenience store on the corner of W. Kaley and OBT and ordered the suspect to exit the pickup under gunpoint. The pickup sped away heading east on Kaley. When DS Kilgore and another deputy followed, the incident became, by policy definition, a vehicle pursuit regardless of the speed the deputies were traveling. Pursuit for a stolen vehicle is specifically forbidden by OCSO policy. The deputies further disobeyed policy by not activating their lights and siren while in pursuit. For approximately the next hour the OCSO played a cat and mouse game with the suspect involving no less than 13 deputies and an OCSO helicopter. Stop sticks were deployed at least 8 times which the suspect avoided by driving through the front and even back yards of residences, on the shoulder of the road and by turning away. The suspect was observed to ignore stop signs numerous times. This incident involves many violations of the OCSO’s Vehicle Pursuit Policy and shows a reckless "ratcheting" up of the pressure on the fleeing suspect which ultimately resulted in the tragic death of two innocent bystanders, Frantz Leander and his sister Carole Leander. This is precisely the type of incident that the revised OCSO pursuit policy was designed to prevent.

The incident has been reviewed and adjudged within policy by Chief Frank Frabrizio, Chief of the Patrol Division. This determination, given the overwhelming evidence of disregard of OCSO policy, and statements of Chief Frabrizio to the press and myself, brings into question whether the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the revised pursuit policy. PursuitWatch anxiously awaits the final determination of Sheriff Kevin Beary. It remains to be seen whether Sheriff Beary will reaffirm his commitment to the revised policy and take appropriate action to demonstrate that commitment or whether he will rubber stamp the self-serving judgements of his chain of command.

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