Agnew: Slow down, move over for police

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 4/18/17

CARBON HILL - Carbon Hill Police Chief Paul Agnew is warning people to slow down and move over when they see an emergency vehicle approach, noting he has seen others hinder public safety vehicles at such times.

He said he and his department have seen a number of chases recently, which he said put other people in danger —and adds more charges for those they catch fleeing police.

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Agnew: Slow down, move over for police

Posted

CARBON HILL - Carbon Hill Police Chief Paul Agnew is warning people to slow down and move over when they see an emergency vehicle approach, noting he has seen others hinder public safety vehicles at such times.

He said he and his department have seen a number of chases recently, which he said put other people in danger —and adds more charges for those they catch fleeing police.

Agnew warned during Thursday’s Carbon Hill City Council meeting that drivers need to be more careful in allowing the emergency vehicles to proceed.

“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had five incidents where police vehicles have been involved in trying to get someone dangerous off the road,” he said. “The people driving vehicles are not getting out of the way. They are hindering us, weaving, trying to see what is going on or whatever.”

He said the rule is to slow down for such incidents and move to the right to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. He urged others to pass the word to take that action.

“When I am going along and a funeral procession is coming, everybody is getting in the ditch. But if I’m going somewhere and trying to save a life, people won’t get out of the way,” he said.

After the council meeting, Agnew volunteered details on recent chases he has had to deal with.

One incident occurred March 27 at the Mill Creek Bridge by U.S. Interstate 22, with a subject driving a gray Nissan Altima, at about 9:15 p.m. At the Mill Creek Shell Station, Agnew saw the vehicle by the pumps. He walked up to the vehicle to ask about his tag.

“I saw his face. He looked at me and pulled off,” Agnew said, noting the suspect headed toward Nauvoo while Agnew gave chase. “He passed four cars, one right away, one on the bridge and two after the bridge.” 

He lost him on German Road, but he found the suspect again on March 31 at 3 p.m. at the Shell station, starting another chase.

This time he was able to catch him about a half-mile after he turned off on Nix Road, after the suspect “trimmed a ditch off too close,” Agnew said, noting the suspect was intoxicated.

The driver, a 22-year-old man from Nauvoo, was arrested for attempted to elude, reckless driving, driving under the influence of any substance, running a stop sign, improper tag, driving while license revoked, improper passing and no insurance.

Municipal Judge Ken Guin is working with the man to see if he can take steps to regain his license, Agnew said.

In another case, on April 8, Agnew pulled up to the Mill Creek Shell Station at about 1 p.m. A man who appeared to be intoxicated walked into the door, he said. Agnew approached the man in his 2001 Mustang to see if he was alright, and noticed a beer can in the console. He took the man’s license, told him he would be back in a moment, and went back to his vehicle.

“I look up and he’s driving off, so here we go,” he said, noting he caught him quickly past the overpass on I-22.

The driver, a 41-year-old Nauvoo man, was arrested and later pled guilty in city court for open container in a vehicle and attempting to elude a police officer.

In addition, on April 7, Agnew said a driver’s license check and equipment check was held on Chickasaw Road.

About 12:30 p.m., a 2001 Chevy pickup was weaving. After an officer tried to wave the driver down, the man drove past the officer. Officers caught up with him before he turned off on Widow’s Lane, which is Seventh Street.

The driver turned out to be intoxicated, he said.

The driver was arrested for driving under the influence. He will appear in city court next month, Agnew said.

On April 11, another driver ran from two officers to the Lynn area before getting away.

The number of chases in a short amount of time surprised him.

“I don’t understand why people don’t just pull over,” Agnew said, noting he told the man who led two chases if he had pulled over, he might have only had a no driver’s license or revoked driver’s license ticket, and a ride home.

“When he ran, he piled all this stuff up on himself,” he said. “I just want to inform people to pull over and deal with your issues on the side of the road instead of in a ditch or up in a tree.” 

He also said taking flight puts other people’s lives in danger. “One of the reasons why (the man who led two chases) got away the first night was because the cars he passed were not getting over for me. They were actually coming over into my lane, causing me to have to slow down or get way over on the shoulder to get around them.”