Being in the middle of a police car chase is scary. I should know; I was in one.
Two weeks ago while driving home at 2 a.m. from my significant other’s house, I was approaching the Firestone Blvd exit on the I-605 when I noticed three police cars with lights on. Thinking they were going to stop me, I started to slow down. The police cars started to approach me, but they zoomed past me without hesitation, so I continued driving and I began to notice more and more police cars entering the freeway.
I was approaching my exit, which is also the freeway closure point. I noticed a helicopter circling the perimeter of where I lived.
I drove down the usual street I take to get home. I turned my Volkswagen Jetta down the street when the helicopter light started flashing at a sole white Scion TC in the middle of the street. I realized this was the car that initiated the chase. I panicked and turned my little Jetta as fast as humanly possible right when I did this, I was almost struck by two police officers that were speeding to the scene.
This got me thinking: what is someone supposed to do in the middle of a police chase? I talked with a Los Alamitos Police Officer, who identified herself only as “Badge 901”, about the issue, and she said, “Do what you need to do to get out the way and trust your judgment on the issue. Yet, the chances of you being in stuck in another one are slim to none.” On average Los Angeles county has over a 1,000 car chases each year. Since the O.J. Simpson police chase in 1994 news stations have begun to air car chases. Car chases have become a phenomenon to watch, because viewers never know what will happen next.
“I would freak out to no extent,” said Los Alamitos resident Salina Castillo, 19, Liberal Studies major. “That’s scary, you don’t know what the driver of the car possesses. I think I would try and turn my car around and leave and hope nothing happens to me.”
“The smart decision would be to just get out of the way,” said Paige White, 18, Criminal justice major. “You don’t want to get involved because you don’t know if the suspect is armed or what crime he has committed.”
The major reason behind the unusual amount of car chases in the city of Las Alamitos is the closure of the I- 605 South to the I- 405 North connectors due to the West County Connectors Project. The West County Connector Project is supposed to have two carpool lanes connecting the I-605 South and I-405 North, reconstructing on and off ramps, and constructing sound walls and retaining walls.
The West County Connectors Project is supposed to be complete in Fall 2014.