Rider dies in high-speed police chase

High-speed police chase

An American rider has died after South Carolina police repeatedly rammed his motorcycle during a high-speed chase.

Robert Lee Clark, 30, died at the scene after he was nudged into a car.

Warning: The following 5:34 minute police dashcam video of the entire pursuit can be very distressing.

The incident again shines a light on the danger of high-speed police chases, especially aggressive, physical contact with a motorcycle as in this case.

Police chases are restricted in most Australian states, but they are still quite common throughout the USA.

In this latest case, Summerville Police Department Deputy James Vansant chased the rider after he was riding at 66mph (106km/h) in a 45mph (72km/h) zone.

The Deputy says the chase reached speeds of 111mph (178km/h).

They also say Robert braked heavily and then missed a gear, causing the contact that sent him into a car that was slowing at the sound of the approaching police siren.Sammy Harlee's Harley-Davidson Electra Glide police motorcycle revenue chase

There is no word on whether the rider was wanted for any other issues, except speeding.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol are conducting an internal investigation. The deputy has been placed on administrative leave, pending the review.

In these days of number (license) plate identification technology, couldn’t police simply check the identity of the motorist and fine them later?

Would the rider have continued to speed and cause danger to other road users? Quite possibly. But would he have ridden at about 70% higher speeds had he not been pursued by police? Possibly not.

If number plate recognition identifies the rider/driver as being wanted for serious offences, then a pursuit may be necessary.

But causing danger to the public with a high-speed chase to stop a speeder is not only highly dangerous but contradictory.

From 1990 to 2010 more than 150 people were killed in high-speed police chases in Australia. However, the toll has since reduced with restrictions placed on police chases and the introduction of sophisticated number plate identification technology.

In America, one person a day is killed in high-speed police chases.

  • Should high-speed pursuits be banned? Have your say in the comments section below.

13 Comments

  1. Is not there quote from somewhere ” it is better that 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be imprisoned”
    There is no difference here , just why he tried to flee the police no one will ever know.
    The said speed which precipitated the chase was possibly “safe” , yet this was at night , even less visibility and margin for error , no one deserves to die from a speed zone infringement.
    Yes the guy was stupid on a number of counts , but hey the police need to exercise judgement and discretion , the very high speeds undoubtedly arose from being chased.

  2. I doubt the rider was just speeding! Why is he running? Did he just kill your wife and rape your daughter and was speeding away from the scene when the cop got him for “speeding”. Imagine if that was the case and the cop failed to try and stop him and let him go for “speeding” never to be seen again as he goes across state lines or it turns out the bike was just stolen and not yet reported. Not so handy recording the number plate then. It’s like gun laws, all good if it is licenced and registered, not so good unlicenced or stolen. Come on people, I get it. A lot of folks are anti Police, but seriously? 99% of people who are “speeding” will stop. People run because they are guilty. US cops can ram under certain conditions. You know this as a motorist in the US. Don’t want to be rammed or killed by Police? Don’t run, don’t point guns at them. There is no simple answer. The guy was obviously up to no good, he was baiting the cops, maybe it was suicide by cop. This is a good online mag, let’s not debate on what powers cops should have. I live in reality – most cops are good decent people. Defend your police force or defend yourself! No doubt, I’ll be crucified now!

  3. What is the alternative? Should the cops let the rider get away to do it again and again when the pursuit speed goes above some arbitrary threshold? How do you stop a bike that does not want to stop for whatever reason? Should the cops put spikes on the road and let him ride over them at 100mph?

    The rider in the video took lots of risks. Should those risks be validated by letting him get away so he can later boast about it in a bar? I would not want to be riding through a green light and get T-boned by that moron.
    The rider wanted to be all badass and outlaw on his(?) Harley and got treated like one.

  4. Darwin theory in practice.
    Problems with this chase ,
    A he was on a Harley
    B it had ape hangers
    C he couldn’t ride for peanuts
    D apparently no protective gear
    E probably drunk or drug affected
    F he was stupid enough to think he could run from the cops
    G even good riders on a hyabusa or r1 have trouble getting away from the cops so how brain dead do you have to be to think you can do it on a Harley especially one with ape hangers?
    H American cops kill first and think up an excuse later
    J instead of jail the cop will probably get promoted.

  5. A death sentence for speeding??? The cop should have broken off the chase if the bike rider wasn’t being pursued for a criminal act. Unbelievable that this man died for nothing more than speeding. He should have stopped but that doesn’t excuse being struck by the police car. A high speed chase is dangerous enough in the day time, but at night, inexcusable…..

    1. Dave, if the police do not have the powers to stop a moron like this then it gives the morons free reign. If that moron crashed and maimed or killed you or me or a loved one, do you still think the police response would have been inappropriate then? Just because the moron hadn’t yet killed someone doesn’t mean it wasn’t about to happen.

      This was not a simple case of speeding on a clear motorway with no-one else around. There were plenty of other road users and people put at risk by the motorcyclist.

      1. The ‘moron’ was on a 300kg bike the ‘trained ‘officer in a couple of tons of steel doing 178km’s an hour over a lousy speeding ticket on public roads.
        if the rider was a moron .What does that make the copper? A homicidal
        moron?, Maybe he watches too many cop shows on tv maybe he thought the rider was black. Who knows

  6. After watching the video IMO the rider is at fault, slowing, accelerating, running red lights, your luck is going to run out, cops or not. All he had to do was pull over.

  7. Do as we say or we will kill you!
    Att: USA Police Force

    I’m not defending the rider, but the police officer as well as the rider where equally guilty for the loss of a human life. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  8. This is no different to the Crumb case where the 68 year old guy ran the bike rider off the road for crossing double white lines. People say Crum was in the wrong (I agree), though the bike rider was crossing double white lines.
    No different here, the bike rider was doing the wrong thing, but the police intentionally rammed him. It got Crum 15 years, I wonder what it will get the copper (if anything!)?

  9. my concern for these chases is the potential innocent victims that get cleaned up because the rider or the police crash into them.

    i have had a family member die in a motorbike accident and wouldn’t wish that on anyone else but let be honest this guy made the choice to not wear safety gear and to run from the police at nearly 180kph in suburban streets.

  10. If the officer is too stupid/ignorant to know the likely outcome of his actions, then they have no place in the force. If they weren’t that stupid/ignorant, then it was murder.

    Nobody can say ‘what if’ to defend the officers actions, because the officer killed the bike rider before any ‘what ifs’ could happen.

    Manslaughter at the very least.

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