COBLESKILL, N.Y. — According to the Macon Telegraph, police in the upstate New York community of Cobleskill reported that one of their patrolmen struck and killed a pedestrian while pursuing a fleeing driver. The Schoharie County prosecutor’s office is handling the investigation into the crash in conjunction with the New York State Police. Neither agency has released its findings to this point, nor the matter remains under investigation.
The chief of the Cobleskill police told reporters that 26-year-old Gerard Roldan III from Cobleskill walked in the path of the lead patrol car while the officers were pursuing a motorist for speeding. A second patrol car also gave chase. However, both stopped when the lead car struck Mr. Roldan. Both officers attempted life-saving measures desperately to revive the wounded pedestrian. Ambulance personnel brought Mr. Roldan to a hospital emergency department in Cobleskill where he died.
The weather might have played a part in this tragedy. The Cobleskill police chief stated that the weather was rainy, and the roads were slick at the time of the crash. The chief did not provide any details about the lighting, the speed at which the patrol cars were moving when the crash occurred, or whether another officer apprehended the fleeing suspect.
The chief did not discuss whether Cobleskill police has a pursuit policy or, if so, whether the officers complied with it.
Police chases are inherently dangerous for the police, the fleeing person, and the general public. A study released in 2015 by USA TODAY concluded that over 5,000 innocent bystanders died in police chases since 1979. On average nationally, 7,400 people suffer an injury in police chases each year. Studies show that 92% of police chases begin from a stop for a civil infraction, misdemeanor, or non-violent felony, however, as many as 40% of pursuits end in a crash.
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