Perth rider killed after police pursuit

Cops Police motorcycles witnesses emergency fatal witnesses police pursuit unlicensed 280km

A 24-year-old Perth rider has died after a woman who had been involved in a police pursuit crashed into him early Thursday morning on the wrong side of the road.

Jordan Thorsager was riding his Kawasaki on the Leach highway just after midnight when he was hit head-on by the driver.

Police say they were not pursuing the woman at the time of the crash, but confirm they had been chasing her “on and off” over the previous hour. She was wanted on an arrest warrant.

Western Australia Police Major Crash investigators and police Internal Affairs officers are investigating the pursuit and are calling for witnesses.

Surprisingly, his family is willing to forgive the driver and does not question police conduct.

 police pursuit
(Image: Channel 9 News, Perth)

Police may not have been pursuing the woman at the time of the crash, but did their pursuit over the previous hour affect the driving behaviour of the woman?

A 24-year-old man is now dead after police pursued a woman wanted on an arrest warrant for matters not made public. Does that seem like a fair outcome from a pursuit?

Police pursuit

The 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology study found the three most pressing issues for police reform around the world are use of force, policing of violence in families and high-speed pursuits.

It also found deaths in custody at police stations are declining but “deaths in custody” as a result of high-speed pursuits were rising.

While less than 1% of police pursuits results in a fatal crash, 38% of the people killed are innocent bystanders.

It’s much worse in the USA where one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. Of those deaths, 1% are police, 55% suspects and 44% bystanders.

Most police procedures acknowledge the judgement of the officer at the scene to begin a pursuit.

However, continuation of the pursuit is then deferred to a senior officer at the station or headquarters.

They have to make a quick judgement based on the lethal risk to the community of the chase versus the lethal risk to the community of letting a serious offender escape.

This must be backed by information, not just mere suspicion.

Queensland police figures show only about 3% of pursuits involved imminent threat to life or a suspect escaping after a homicide.

Police have a duty to not only prevent and control crime, but more importantly, they have a duty to protect the community and that includes from their own reckless behaviour and judgement.

Click her to read about a police and media pursuit that encouraged a motorcycle rider to perform stunts for the cameras.

Police pursuit pursuits
TV chopper captures pursued rider performing stunts

Restrictive practices

Despite criticism from police unions, most pursuit policies around the world, including the USA, are becoming more restrictive.

In many jurisdictions, pursuits are only allowed if there is a serious risk to public safety or in relation to a major crime involving death or injury.

However, there is an issue about making these pursuit policies public. Some say they should be public to show transparency while others believe it would give criminals clues on how to evade police.

Those who support pursuits point out that the number of people evading police is rising as a result of more restrictive pursuit policies, despite higher penalties for evading police.

Making the issue more complex is the degree of the pursuit.

Should there be an upper speed limit for police? Should police be allowed to break other road rules in the pursuit?

There have been incidences of police driving at more than 200km/h in a pursuit and on the road side of a major highway.

Another issue is whether police should be criminally culpable in the instance of a death resulting from a pursuit.

To a degree, technologies such as CTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) devices, negate the need for pursuits.

VicPol gets number plate recognition police pursuit
Number plate recognition device on the roof of a patrol car

WA police have ANPR, but it is not known whether it was available in the pursuit patrol vehicle.

In some cases, APNR may actually trigger a police pursuit.

* What do you think about police pursuits? Leave your comments below.

7 Comments

  1. Cannot agree with what most of you guys are saying.
    This is a case of cops attempting to distance themselves from a pursuit fatality.
    They confirm they were chasing her “on and off” for the previous hour ! so at which points in time would she be aware she was being pursued and when she was not?
    So the cops as a matter of political correctness , and avoidance of responsibility they say they were not chasing her when she crashed the bike . Had they informed her she was not being chased – really – such childish logic by police is one of the factors which engenders derision

  2. Whilst I don’t want to make light of the matter I am reminded of a time in 1979 when a police mate of mine was pursuing a car at top speed under lights and siren on the western freeway near Jindalee when they were overtaken by a Ducati 900 Darmah.

  3. Mark, what a biased article this is. Your whole intention seems to be to blame the cops for the behavior of a criminal whose actions led to the death of an innocent man. Did the cops force her to run? Didn’t the cops stop the chase before the collision? As a former journalist let me give you some advice – keep your biases out of the story and try reporting on the facts. I’ll bet if the cops didn’t give chase to her at all and she ended up in your street crashing into cars and people, you’d be straight on the phone to the cops wanting them to deal with her.

    1. He’s not being biased at all, these pursuits are putting everything ahead on the road at risk, I’ve been passed by a obviously stolen car, on WAs Mitchell freeway, in reasonably heavy traffic, and here comes the cops after them, fair enough they have to be stopped sometime, but they need to radio, units ahead to get ready with the tyre spikes and take them out. The rider shouldn’t have been out after midnight, the most dangerous time for a rider on any road.

  4. A sad loss of an innocent life.
    However, we need to stop apportioning blame at the Police Force.
    The one to blame here is the driver of the vehicle who evaded Police serving an arrest warrant & drove at high speed on the wrong side of the road.

  5. A couple of points:
    1). Photo recognition is great, however many of those subject to pursuits are driving stolen vehicles or have false plates – leaves no ability to follow up!
    2). The option to stop or try and escape belongs to the driver of the vehicle being pursued
    3). Police often stop the pursuit whilst the driver of the pursued vehicle continues to speed and do dangerous things. In fact Police often come across the same vehicle later when it has been crashed.
    4). There is little or no deterrent provided by Magestrates with offenders often give light or no punishment even when the offender has committed multiple similar offences
    5). Serious offenders who have charged down other vehicles or people must be taken off the street before they can continue that behaviour
    6). Additionally serious offenders need to be apprehended whilst still in possession of weapons or evidence necessary for a prosecution.

  6. Collateral damage. Doesn’t seem to matter to them. They are in the right.
    I’m pretty sure if I’m speeding and kill someone I go to jail.

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