Police chief drove car in fatal chase | SierraSun.com
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Police chief drove car in fatal chase

Renée Shadforth

Truckee Police Chief Scott Berry was behind the wheel of the police vehicle involved in the fatal chase of motorcyclist David Lee Kurrle last week.After not disclosing the name of the officer involved in the pursuit since the Oct. 12 accident, the CHP released Berry’s identity on Tuesday with concurrence of the Truckee Police Department. Typically, the identity of an officer involved in an ongoing investigation is not made available to the public, said Kirk Bromell, a CHP information officer in Truckee.Berry was driving in Glenshire when he allegedly saw 20-year-old Kurrle driving his 2004 Honda dirt bike without headlights and making an illegal pass. Berry pursued Kurrle south up The Strand. According to witnesses to the pursuit, Kurrle was driving 40 to 60 mph. However, a Sacramento-based CHP investigation team has not completed speed calculations from evidence left by the dirt bike’s skid marks. Because the investigation is ongoing, the CHP will not release the estimated speed that Berry was traveling at this time, Bromell said.A preliminary examination of the vehicles revealed that Berry’s SUV and Kurrle’s motorcycle made no physical contact.The investigation team will look into the 24-hour timeline leading to the crash, do complete dissections of both the motorcycle and police vehicle and analyze evidence at the scene, Bromell said. The team will determine the cause of the collision and whether there will be any prosecution.Residents have expressed concern over the length of some non-motorcycle skid marks at the accident scene, Bromell said. Those skid marks were intentionally made by CHP investigators to determine the traction of the pavement at the accident scene.It will likely be a long wait for any conclusion to the investigation. The soonest it will be complete will be early 2005, said CHP Valley Division information officer Don Oxley.Pursuit policyThe Truckee Police Department has a policy “to apprehend the violator in a pursuit without unnecessarily endangering involved officers, citizens and property.”Truckee police Lt. Jeff Nichols said that officers in marked or unmarked vehicles have, “the responsibility to do something to apprehend misdemeanors and traffic violators.”The policy adds that “a pursuit should be terminated when the risk outweighs the benefits of apprehension.”When determining when to terminate a pursuit, officers should consider the seriousness of the crime, whether the location of the pursued vehicle is known, the length of the pursuit, the possibility of identifying the suspect at a later time and the distance between the pursuit and fleeing vehicles, according to the policy.That policy has spurred some Truckee residents to ask for change. Vicki Hooser, a friend of the Kurrles family, said she would like people in town to write the Truckee Town Council and request that the municipal code be changed to stop high-speed pursuits in residential areas.Meanwhile, Jerry Kurrle, David Lee Kurrle’s father and a retired CHP officer, said he is awaiting the findings of the accident investigation team before making any evaluations about the details surrounding his son’s death.He did talk about his son’s personality, calling him “an upbeat kid.””His main deal was his smile – up or down, he was always smiling,” Jerry Kurrle said. “People will always remember him for his big grin.”Kurrle met most of his friends while riding dirt bikes. Locally, he rode at Prosser Pits, and he traveled to races with Northern Nevada Motocross.Kurrle lived in Truckee most of his life, moving to town with his parents at age 4.


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