Continuing a six-year trend, the number of police vehicle pursuits in Pennsylvania declined by 6.3 percent last year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Pennsylvania police agencies reported 1,809 vehicle pursuits, down from 1,931 in 2007. The number of deaths resulting from those pursuits fell from 13 in 2007 to nine last year. Eight of those killed were violators. The other was a Philadelphia police officer, Isabel Nazario, 40, whose cruiser was rammed by a 16-year-old suspect who was fleeing police in September.
State police spokesman Jack Lewis said police pursuits have declined since hitting a peak of 2,314 in 2002. “I think there’s a general feeling that the departments may be more cautious,” he said. Police departments nationwide have tightened up their pursuit policies because of concerns about crashes, injuries and legal liability. Just over half of the police pursuits in Pennsylvania last year were triggered by traffic offenses including speeding, running stop signs and failing to yield. One-third of the overall 1,809 chases ended in crashes, with 212 people injured.