LANSING – House Bill 4233, introduced by first-term state Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint), was given a hearing in the House Local Government Committee today. If passed, the bill would create the State Police Motor Vehicle Pursuit Policy Act, which would regulate how the Michigan State Police could conduct high-speed chases within the boundaries of a community.
“When you are involved in a high-speed chase, there are a lot of possible dangers, even on open roads. Once you get into a city, the risk is only multiplied due to heavy traffic from both other vehicles and pedestrians,” Neeley said. “That’s where the importance of my bill comes in. Our cities need to be able to have some sort of authority over high-speed chases within city limits, because local law enforcement knows the area much better, and can reduce the chance of fatalities or injuries.”
A high-speed chase by the MSP recently caused the fatality of a 64-year-old woman, Jacqueline Nichols, in the city of Flint, which Rep. Neeley represents in the Michigan House. As a state trooper chased a car through Flint, the car Nichols was a passenger in was struck by the trooper’s vehicle.
Both Rep. Neeley and state Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint) have had key roles in guiding discussions with the MSP, along with high-level officials from Gov. Rick Snyder’s office.
“One innocent death caused by a high-speed chase through our crowded and narrow city streets is one too many, and my bill is a hope that this situation can be avoided in the future,” Neeley said. “I stand with my community leaders when I push this needed legislation for the future safety of our communities. We understand the apprehension of criminals is important, but not at the risk of innocent bystanders.”