Delegate McQuinn to propose high speed chase legislation

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Pastor Anthony Taylor's mark on the east end community is evident; from his church, to the tribute at the site of his death. Community leaders gathered there again Monday, this time to honor his memory.

"We honor Apostle Taylor and we believe that he has been used yet again by God to shake us awake, and to deal with some issues that will keep our community safe," said Pastor Patricia Gould-Champ.

Taylor was killed in late March while driving home from a sermon. He was hit by a man fleeing a Henrico police checkpoint. Delegate Delores McQuinn is now turning the community's tears into action.

"Public safety has taken a back seat to catching criminals and this has to change," said McQuinn.

McQuinn plans to introduce legislation to study the creation of state guidelines for police pursuits. She wants to require specialized training for all officers and study alternatives to giving chase. She also wants to introduce legislation creating stiffer penalties for those who choose to run from officers.

"At the end of the day if you have a police officer that's killed, an innocent bystander like Apostle Taylor, or even the person who was fleeing for a minor offense - it's simply not worth it," said Delegate Joe Morrissey.

McQuinn, joined by fellow delegates and city leaders, says police chiefs from across Virginia will be involved in the study.

"Working together at the state level, local levels, and jurisdictional levels around this particular issue, we can in fact minimize the loss of life in our community," Cynthia Newbille.

"We believe that there must be uniform guidelines on the state level. And then it just forces locales to do what is right," McQuinn said.

McQuinn says she'll take the next several months to craft the legislation, but that she plans to introduce for the January General Assembly.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.