Proposal: seize and sell vehicles in police pursuits

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Run from the law, and lose your car. It's part of a proposed bill that one state lawmaker hopes will prevent another tragedy like the one that killed a Richmond pastor five months ago. But some are skeptical it'll work. Richmond Delegate Manoli Loupassi is proposing the new punishment.

Police chases: They can start in an instant and end just as quickly and in dramatic fashion often times with injuries and death. The night Darryl Harris ran from the cops in March, Apostle Charles Commodore lost his best friend, Pastor Anthony Taylor.

"Nothing will, nothing wakes us from this nightmare," said Apostle Commodore.

Delegate Loupassi thinks the legislation he's proposing could reduce police chases. It would allow police to seize and sell vehicles involved in a pursuit that puts officers and others in danger. Proceeds would go to the state's literary fund, which benefits public schools.

"I thought it was an excellent idea; a good way to discourage people from engaging in that kind of behavior, in a way, to also punish them," said Loupassi.

"If they were concerned about their car they wouldn't get behind the wheel. They could kill themselves kill somebody, or wreck their car - no they don't care," said Eboni Tyler, who lives in Church Hill.

Commodore says that kind of consequence wouldn't have stopped Harris.

"Adrenaline. Adrenaline is flowing and rational thinking goes right out the window, so no, I don't believe it would have affected him," said Apostle Commodore.

Commodore applauds Loupassi's effort, but says some focus should be put on what makes people hit the gas.

"If we get to the point where the person is going to run I don't think the laws matter - we've already passed them. We have to change behavior before that moment of decision," said Apostle Commodore.

The law would not apply to vehicles stolen or borrowed and then used in a pursuit. People who've had their cars seized would have the opportunity to challenge the forfeiture. The legislation will be taken up at the next General Assembly session in January.

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