CHP officer injured in crash during pursuit
May 19, 2008
The California Highway Patrol continued Monday to investigate the identity of a motorcyclist involved in a high-speed pursuit Saturday night, which resulted in Officer James Giraudo sustaining moderate injuries.
At approximately 10 p.m. Saturday, Giraudo began pursuing an unidentified motorcyclist heading north on Highway 89 south, according to a CHP release.
While trying to make a left-hand turn onto Squaw Valley Road in pursuit of the driver, Giraudo lost control of his patrol vehicle and struck a light pole. The vehicle rotated backward and ended up in a ditch on the northwest corner of the intersection, the CHP said.
Giraudo was flown to Renown Medical Center in Reno, where he remained in the intensive-care unit for moderate injuries Monday, CHP Officer Steve Skeen said.
Officers are following up on several leads to identify the motorcyclist, whose vehicle was found abandoned on the golf course in Squaw Valley, Skeen said.
The plates were left on the motorcycle, and officers are investigating the registered owner and may fingerprint the vehicle to identify the driver, Skeen said.
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The CHP has a policy to pursue a motorist purposefully without endangering the officer’s safety, said CHP officer and pursuit reporting coordinator Jennifer Steel.
Pursuits generally follow a vehicle-code violation, stolen-vehicle report or a warrant for arrest, Steel said.
The policy adds that a pursuit should be terminated when “the risks outweigh the benefits,” Steel said.
Officers should take into consideration traffic safety, pedestrians, bicyclists, school zones and heavily populated areas when considering a pursuit, she said.
Additionally, officers no longer would continue to pursue a vehicle once the driver is identified, Steel said.
The Truckee Police Department’s pursuit policy – which is similar to the CHP policy – became a public concern in 2004, when Chief Scott Berry was involved in the chase of 20-year-old motorcyclist David Lee Kurrle in Glenshire, which resulted in the motorcyclist’s death.
The deadly chase spurred some Truckee residents to ask for a change in the pursuit policy, such as terminating high-speed chases in residential areas.
However, the policy remains the same, said Truckee police Sgt. Tim Hargrove.
Anyone with information about Saturday’s crash or the identity of the motorcyclist can call the CHP at (530) 582-7570.