Report: Deadly chase hit speeds exceeding 100 mph
Nov 06, 2012 (The Gazette (Colorado Springs - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A chase exceeding 100 mph turned deadly July 24, when a Colorado Springs motorcycle officer slammed into a truck that turned into his path, according to a crash report released Monday by police.
The 68-page report brings the first details to be released about the crash that killed 42-year-old Matt Tyner and describes the Police Department's long, but thus far unsuccessful, attempt to find the motorcycle rider that the officer was chasing that day.
According to the report, Tyner was on patrol about 2:30 p.m. when he spotted a black sport-style motorcycle go west on Barnes Road and then turn east on Austin Bluffs Parkway.
The motorcycle was racing and weaving in and out of traffic, witnesses said. Tyner turned on his police lights and siren and gave chase, witnesses said.
Video surveillance and other evidence helped police determine that the black motorcycle was going more than 120 mph and Tyner was about seven seconds behind, going more than 100 mph.
At the intersection with Silver Drive, police say, 72-year-old Richard Dalby was facing west on Austin Bluffs and tried to make a left turn in front of the officer.
Tyner hit his brakes, skidding 75 feet, but still slammed into the truck.
The impact was severe, and Tyner's helmet came off, witnesses and police said. Several people stopped to help, including a registered nurse, and Tyner was rushed to the hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead.
Dalby later told police that the black motorcycle almost hit him at the intersection and "zipped" within 2 feet of the corner of his truck. He said he didn't know Tyner was following and didn't see him when he made the turn.
"I was trying to be very safe. I was not trying to speed," he is quoted in the report. "I was trying to be safe when I entered, safe when I stopped, and safe when I turned."
Dalby did not return a phone message left at his home Monday.
According to Colorado Springs police pursuit guidelines, available on the city's website, officers are prohibited from conducting high-risk pursuits -- speeds exceeding 25 mph over the speed limit -- for any reason other than a violent felony. In cases of traffic violations, officers are prohibited from anything other than a low-risk pursuit -- with speeds less than 15 mph over the limit.
The speed limit on Austin Bluffs was 45 mph.
Barbara Miller, a police spokeswoman, said Monday evening that she did not know if Tyner violated police pursuit policy and was still looking into it.
She said Dalby could have faced possible charges for the crash, but police ultimately decided against pursuing them.
First, the investigation would probably have led to a long and in-depth trial that could have been difficult to win based on the "totality of the evidence," she said, adding it was hard for officers to know how difficult it might have been for Dalby to see Tyner's motorcycle at the intersection.
Second, Tyner's family did not want police to pursue charges, she said.
"They think that anyone who hits someone else will suffer and possibly suffer even more if it's a police officer," she said. "They decided that Matt's not going to come back and they decided not to pursue charges."
Police searched for months for the rider of the black motorcycle and continue to search, Miller said. The department delayed releasing the details of the crash because of that investigation.
The report describes how officers attempted to find the motorcycle driver, following all tips including one man whose friends said he bragged that he had been riding the speeding motorcycle that day. Miller said he was not arrested for the crash.
"No one has been arrested, and we continue to look for that person," she said.
Contact Maria St. Louis-Sanchez: 636-0274
Facebook Gazette Maria St. Louis-Sanchez
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