South Carolina Sheriff’s Video
The video below was released from the Sheriff’s office of Summerville, South Carolina and was recorded through the officer’s dash cam. No matter how many times you watch the video, you will shake your head and walk away confused, angry, asking yourself if this could have been handled differently.
For one, the motorcycle rider apparently does not know how to take a right hand turn as can be seen when the officer initially pulls up behind him. My guess is he is intoxicated. He even rode on the wrong side of the road multiple times. The biker slows down numerous times only to speed up again and reaches speeds at 100+ miles per hour. At one point, he reaches a red light and takes a left turn anyway, taking the red light. He ultimately takes 3 red lights.
At 5:07, the office is tailgating the biker and at 5:24 bumps him from behind, an incredibly risky tactic. At 5:27, the biker seems trapped in a merge because of the car in front of him.
When the rider is in the merge lane, it seems he hits the throttle to cut off the officer. Chief Cochran argues that the biker missed switching gears which caused him to lose control of the motorcycle, bumping into the police car. I fail to see that. What I see is as the biker hits the throttle, he is hit simultaneously by the police car. The engine is revved because he squeezed the clutch from the impact. Notice the lane position of the police car- it is in the middle of the lane!
From there, the motorcyclist tries to regain control and cut between the space of the vehicle and the median, hitting the median or clipping the car, losing control, and ultimately getting killed from the accident. He was not wearing a motorcycle helmet.
Multiple thoughts come to mind. For one, based on the speed of the rider and his poor riding skills, he would have killed himself eventually. Whether that day or another day. Two, the officer was close enough to obtain his tag number and call it in. He can be arrested tomorrow. Three, is the department large enough to just have the officers set up a road block as the motorcyclist approaches?
Who is at Fault?
Now, the biker is not without fault. I do not know if he was intoxicated and that information has not been released, but if he was, I still prefer a DUI over getting chased by a police officer. Even if the motorcycle was stolen, I probably would have stopped because it was obvious he was not going to outrun the police car on near empty roads mostly straightaways. If you tell me he is on a crotch rocket and living in a city like Miami where the highway is jammed and he can ride in/out of cars, then yes, he would have been able to get away, but not on these roads.
Regardless, this obviously will end up in a lawsuit. Whether the biker missed a gear or not, it is on video that the officer bumped him from behind and when they collide that fatal last time, the police car is halfway in the lane. He could have simply sped up to block the biker from passing him.