GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dashcam video shows Michigan State Police chasing a driver before a deadly crash in Kentwood last month.
MSP initially tried to pull over the driver, Alex Torrez, for speeding. But he didn’t have a license and had been busted before for driving without one, so he didn’t stop. MSP gives troopers the discretion to decide when to pursue a suspect and says the trooper was justified in this case, claiming at a press conference in the days following the crash that the dashcam video showed Torrez was “conscious … of his driving.”
The beginning of the video, obtained by 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday via the Freedom of Information Act, is timestamped 10:12 p.m. March 11. In it, you can see the trooper following the suspect vehicle, which belonged to Torrez’s mother. Then the trooper flipped on his flashing lights and shined a spotlight on the car.
The suspect car, which was stopped at a red light, swerved suddenly into the right lane and took off. The trooper pursued it through the red light.
The chase continued on past homes. The video doesn’t show the trooper’s speedometer, but you can see the suspect vehicle and cruiser flying by other cars. The trooper narrated the chase, saying that the suspect driver was “weaving in and out of traffic and continuing to run red lights.”
The chase took place over about six miles and lasted about five minutes. The suspect car was quite a distance in front of the trooper when the deadly crash happened. When the trooper came upon the scene, he reported the crash and subsequent vehicle fire.
MSP says troopers take seven factors into consideration, including speed, the nature of the violation, traffic conditions and weather, when deciding whether to pursue.
“Even the driver of the suspect vehicle was very conscious, if you will, of his driving. He slowed down at all of the red lights that I could see. He slowed down at one green light, almost to a stop, before he went through it,” MSP 1st Lt. Chris McIntire said at a March 13 press conference, adding that the driver went slower at times and that there was never heavy traffic.
In the video, 24 Hour News 8 couldn’t see the suspect using his turn signals, but he did seem to slow down at lights.
Alex Torrez, now 17, is being charged as an adult with two counts of second-degree murder.