Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes discusses pursuit policy after deadly high-speed crash on Battleground Avenue
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes discussed in a 10-page press release Thursday morning the sheriff’s office pursuit policy following a deadly high-speed crash on Battleground Avenue last month.
The crash happened on Sept. 30 after Deputy C. Lineback started chasing a car that was reported stolen. The driver took off, then crashed into another car on Battleground Avenue near Summerfield. Five people were killed in the crash.
The occupants of the stolen vehicle were identified as Deshon Lee Manuel, 42; Theresa Monique Kingcade, 34; and Bruce Wayne Hunt, 40. All were from Greensboro.
The occupants of the other vehicle were identified as Allie Bolick, 29, and Stephanie Warshauer, 32.
According to Barnes, Deputy Lineback reached speeds up to 128 mph but “reduced his speed” before the crash happened. He says dashcam video shows traffic on Battleground Avenue was light during the entire 1.8-mile chase and the deputy passed a total of five vehicles.
Barnes said he believes the current policy is the safest to Guilford County citizens.
“While some have argued that not pursuing criminals could be safer in some circumstances, the opposite, in my opinion, is equally or more true. In other words, choosing not to pursue lets criminals know that they can commit further crimes with less likelihood they will be caught. This leads to more crime which is a far greater threat to the personal safety of the law-abiding citizens of Guilford County,” he said.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office’s policy requires deputies to weigh a number of safety factors including:
- Visibility and weather conditions
- Traffic volume and road condition
- Seriousness of suspected violation
- Danger presented to the public if suspect is not immediately apprehended
- Danger to the public caused by the pursuit and of the pursuing officer(s)
- Pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns
- Location of the pursuit
- Speeds involved in the pursuit
- Time of day
- Restricted visibility due to buildings, curves or hills
- Capabilities and limitations of the sheriff’s vehicle and the deputy
- Pursuing and supervising officers’ familiarity with the area
- Quality of radio communications with the pursuing officer(s)
- Whether or not the identity of the driver is known or whether he or she can be identified by the prima facie rule
- Whether the pursuit will likely be successful in apprehending the suspect
“Going forward, we will closely examine our Agency’s policies,” Barnes said in the press release. “This is not ‘lip service.’ In fact, to start that process, I convened a meeting yesterday afternoon of more than 20 of my top Command Staff members and District Supervisors including the Chief Deputy, the Major over my Patrol Bureau, and the Captains and Lieutenants supervising patrol operations. We are examining our pursuit policies and training protocols and will carefully consider whether improvement can be made. You have my word on that.”
Phil Warshauer, father of victim Stephanie Warshauer, said in response Thursday: “I find it highly disrespectful to the lives of Allie and Stephanie, and all residents of Greensboro, that potential for more theft of merchandise at CVS was worth the extreme risk that led to the deaths of our precious daughters.”