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Families of Greensboro crash victims want sheriff’s office to update pursuit policy

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Two families want justice for their daughters, and they believe the way to make it happen is for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office to change its pursuit policy.

Allie Bolick, 29, and Stephanie Warshauer, 32, died after three people in a stolen car crashed into them at the intersection of Battleground Avenue and New Garden Road. The sheriff's office says the stolen vehicle was going 100 miles per hour.

FOX8 reached out to the victims' parents and the attorney representing them on Friday. Their attorney, Drew Brown, told us he plans to meet with Sheriff BJ Barnes on Tuesday morning to talk about specific changes the families want to see happen to how deputies carry out vehicle pursuits.

In the minutes before the women's death around 11:30 p.m. September 30, sheriff's officials say a deputy spotted a vehicle, ran the plates and the car came up as stolen.

That's when Sheriff Barnes says the deputy turned on his blue lights and followed the car into an apartment parking lot and down Battleground Avenue.

"Anytime there's a violation and violation that would cause a public safety issue, a violation of the law, then we chase, if need be. We prefer not," Sheriff Barnes said.

He shared that with us days after the crash. He says the entire pursuit lasted about 90 seconds and the suspect was going about 100 mph.

Dave Brown, the families' lawyer, says the suspect and deputy were going much faster than that.

In a statement on his law firm's Facebook page, Brown writes, "We are hoping Guilford County will work with us here to bring its police chase policy in line with other police forces (including GPD). Each situation is different & police must be given wide discretion. But a police car flying 123mph down crowded Battleground on a Saturday night is way past the line."

Brown says the families want the sheriff's office to adopt more specific criteria for starting a pursuit, like the seriousness of the suspect's offense, how busy traffic is on the road and how fast they were driving.

But Sheriff Barnes says his deputy did the right thing, referring to his own office's pursuit policy.

"One of the paragraphs is in here says, 'Terminate pursuit if at any time it appears that a danger to the public, because of pursuit, outweighs the danger to the public by allowing the violator to escape,'" he said. "In this particular case, 90 seconds was what was involved in this. It was a stolen vehicle. The officer had already established that, and the suspect decided to run and even if we had not pursued with blue lights and siren, he probably would have still gone those speeds to try to evade and get away."

FOX8 submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the sheriff's office on Friday, asking for information including how fast the suspect and deputy were driving and for the most recent version of their pursuit policy.