IN prosecutor: Police chase penalties 'Not severe enough'

Updated: Sep. 30, 2017 at 11:50 PM EDT
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JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull has been seeing an alarming number of high speed chases in Indiana.

"Maybe you grew up watching the Dukes of Hazard where it was just kind of funny where you see the police behind you and just take off," Mull said. "In reality what  really happens is people can be killed or very seriously injured."

A police chase ended in Clark County Tuesday night.  On Saturday, a pursuit ended in a deadly shootout in Bartholomew County.

"The penalties that we have for this unfortunately are just not severe enough in my mind," Mull said.

In Indiana, fleeing from police in a vehicle is a level 6 felony. The maximum penalty is two and a half years in jail; that time is not often served.

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If someone is killed, the recommended time behind bars is just nine years.

"That would be very difficult to justify to a victim's family," Mull said. "Saying this person decided they didn't want to go to jail, ran, smashed into their loved one and killed them. The advisory for that is 9 years."

Indiana law enforcement have discovered another reason behind the chases.

"Offenders are telling them that they believe if they're being pursued in Indiana, if they can get to one of the bridges and cross into Kentucky, that they'll be home free because of whatever pursuit policies Louisville has," Mull said.

LMPD only justifies high speed pursuits in violent felony cases. Mull believes it's a valid policy.

At some point, Mull hopes the penalties in Indiana will change. In the meantime, he's cracking down in his own county.

"I've instructed all my deputies to seek the maximum penalty available on that," Mull said.

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