To pursue or not to pursue: 15 percent of police chases led to crashes in 2012

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After a high-speed pursuit led to a deadly crash in downtown Minneapolis early Monday morning, family members of the 20-year-old victim questioned whether a police chase was necessary in the first place.

Yia Her, 34, of St. Paul was driving with a suspended license when he was pulled over on suspicion of speeding and drunken driving along I-94. Her sped off, prompting the chase

The pursuit continued into downtown, where Her ran a red light and slammed into the side of a car driven by Brady Sotona, killing him and critically injuring his passenger, 24-year-old Connor Macklin.

Her had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, twice the state's legal limit, and suffered non life-threatening injuries.

FOX 9 reports 15 percent of police chases led to an unintentional collision last year, which begs the question: are they worth it?

The statistics suggest that police think so.

Out of all pursuits, the suspect is captured 80 percent of the time and only 11 percent get away, FOX 9 reports. The remaining 9 percent of chases are called off by a supervisor because they're too dangerous.

However, the night of the deadly crash in downtown Minneapolis, a State Patrol supervisor was not on duty.

Neil Melton, executive director at the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, said he believes having a second set of ears listening to the chase over a radio is "absolutely critical."

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says the officer behind the wheel is not to blame.

“I think the bottom line to me, this officer didn’t cause the death of the victim, Her caused it. And that’s why Her’s going to do big time," Freeman said in a Star Tribune report.

Her is charged with two felony counts of fleeing police in a vehicle, causing death or injury.

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