Jay always runs
From big cities to small towns, there is perhaps nothing we associate more with modern police work than the high-speed chase. In this two-parter, Detectives Dan and Dave remember their first times behind the wheel when they had to suddenly go Code 3 “in pursuit.” You’ll hear how they learned to keep cool under pressure while also keeping the public safe as they pursued the suspect.
The detective: Detective DanRead Transcript
Dan: [00:00:02] What I see is this suspect, he’s short, but he is built. We call it “prison strong.” He looks prison strong. He’s just spent the last five years working out every day in his cell. You can tell he’s physical. And I see that Charlie is trying to tackle this guy, and this guy turns around and Charlie is now down on the ground, and this guy’s getting ready to kick Charlie in the face.
Yeardley: [00:00:31] Hi, I’m Yeardley. This is Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:00:34] Hey, there.
Yeardley: [00:00:35] And his identical twin brother, Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:00:38] Hello.
Yeardley: [00:00:39] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dave: [00:00:43] You will hear detectives from small towns around the world discuss their most memorable cases.
Dan: [00:00:47] We cover the intimate details of what went wrong and what went right.
Yeardley: [00:00:51] As these dedicated men and women search for justice and crack the case.
Dan: [00:00:55] Names and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dave: [00:01:01] So, please join us in maintaining their anonymity out of respect for what they’ve been through.
Unison: [00:01:05] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:01:13] Hey, Small Town Fam. I hope you guys are doing great. I am excited to tell you that today, I have the A-Team with me. They’re the ones giving us the case today, and it’s a two-parter! Ooh-ooh! I have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:30] Hello. Notice how she’s mentioned me first?
Yeardley: [00:01:33] [laughs]
Dave: [00:01:34] I get it. We’re going from IQ lowest to highest.
Yeardley: [00:01:37] [laughs] Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:40] Hello, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:01:41] Hello, sir. Sir David, as I like to call you. We also have Zipper, just FYI, the cat, just in case you hear [meows]. All right. Dan and Dave were telling me stories the other day about their first car chases. So, gentlemen.
Dave: [00:02:00] Yours is before mine.
Yeardley: [00:02:03] Doesn’t have to be chronological.
Dave: [00:02:04] He started years before I did.
Dan: [00:02:06] I did. The first one that I’m going to talk about is it wasn’t technically my first car chase. It’s the first car chase I actually started. So, I had been in other ones that I had joined. So, I’m not working the radio. I don’t have to multitask as much. I’ll tell you what, the first car chase you get into where you have to do all the multitasking, you have to drive effectively and safely, and call the chase on the radio at the same time while providing really critical information to your supervisor, your sergeant so he can assess whether or not he needs to terminate that chase or allow you to continue.
Yeardley: [00:02:47] What would be the circumstances to terminate the chase before it was actually over, like before you caught the suspect?
Dan: [00:02:53] The most important factor in that is public safety. Obviously, we don’t want any car chase to end in injury or worse to a member of the public, who’s just simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s part of our responsibility as patrol officers, when you’re in one of these chases, to recognize when things are getting a little out of hand. Not to say that– I mean crazy stuff happens out there, and I’ve seen it, but that’s the most important factor, is public safety.
Dave: [00:03:27] Mitigating risk. I speak with having the benefit of a lens from a supervisor’s point of view, also having heard and been involved in pursuits. On the patrol as a detective and now as a supervisor, you get the broad view of what’s important now.
Yeardley: [00:03:45] Right. When people complain to the police department about guys on your shift, you get that call?
Dave: [00:03:51] Correct. And then you hear from above. After they review your critique of a pursuit, you hear from them about what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what will never happen again.
Yeardley: [00:04:03] That’s your command staff?
Dave: [00:04:04] Right.
Dan: [00:04:05] Something important to think about this is, we’re talking about public safety. But another side to that public safety is, are we endangering the public, if we allow who we’re chasing to get away? So, you think about a murder-
Yeardley: [00:04:19] Kidnapper.
Dan: [00:04:21] -kidnapper, talk about Monster in Season 2. It was early in Season 2, there was no way we could allow that guy to get away, because he had the little girl with him. And even if he doesn’t have a little girl with him, the guy kidnaps little kids. It’s the worst-case scenario. So, there are two sides to the public safety thing. This chase that I’ll talk about, I was working graveyard and I’d only been kicked loose, and I say kicked loose, I had been released from my FTO training program I had passed.
Yeardley: [00:04:54] Which is Field Training Program.
Dan: [00:04:56] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:04:57] Where you’re supervised.
Dan: [00:04:58] You’re supervised. You have somebody right riding in the car with you. Now, the agency that we worked for were small. So, we ride one to a car. It’s just you.
Yeardley: [00:05:07] Oh, you don’t go in pairs?
Dan: [00:05:09] We don’t go in pairs like LAPD, NYPD. A lot of these larger cities, we call them Baker units.
Yeardley: [00:05:15] Baker?
Dan: [00:05:15] Yes. It’s a two-man unit. And Adam unit is one-man unit.
Yeardley: [00:05:20] Because A is the first letter and B is the second letter?
Dave: [00:05:23] It’s all about naming districts, and certain jurisdictions have different naming conventions for their districts. But in our jurisdiction, in our agency, we have One-Adam, Two-Adam, Three-Adam. If you’re a Baker unit, we have One-Baker, Two-Baker, Three-Baker, and then whatever your district number is.
Dan: [00:05:41] When you hear Baker, you go, “Oh, there’s two people in that car.”
Yeardley: [00:05:44] Okay. [chuckles] Cop talk.
Dan: [00:05:46] Trade craft. So, it was early on, I’ve been cut loose for maybe a month or two, and I was working graveyard. So, at that time, it was like 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM, that was my shift. And I was in the East part of our town. I always remember one thing, one of my FTOs said, his name was Mark. He always said, “Your job is to investigate.” Sometimes when it’s graveyard, it’s really easy to, I mean, A, you’re sleepy, [Yeardley giggles] because it’s zero dark 30, and there’s nothing going on. There’s nobody out on the streets. But if you see something, it’s your job to investigate. I think it’s easy sometimes for people to just simply brush something off and try to justify it, without actually going to investigate it.
Yeardley: [00:06:36] Do you mean police officers?
Dan: [00:06:37] Police officers and citizens. You hear a weird noise in the middle of the night and you don’t get up, you don’t look out the window. So, this particular instance, I’m on the east part of town, I’m just patrolling through residential neighborhoods. There’s an intersection and I’m driving westbound on this street. And I look to the south and about 50 feet south of the intersection, on the right side of the road, I see a truck parked and I just see the brake lights flicker for just like a half second. So, I slow down. I’m not through the intersection, so I could still see part of the truck. I slow down and come to a stop almost, thinking, “I should see somebody either walking toward that truck or away from that truck now,” like they hit their key fob to lock the doors.
Yeardley: [00:07:28] I see, and the brake lights went blink.
Dan: [00:07:30] Yeah. And I didn’t see someone walking to or away from that truck.
Yeardley: [00:07:35] Is it just like a little pickup truck kind of truck?
Dan: [00:07:38] It’s a full-sized Dodge pickup, so a half ton pickup. It’s a white pickup. I put my car in reverse. Again, there’s no traffic out. I’m the only thing moving on this side of town. I need to get my location, where I’m at, and the plate of the vehicle that I’m going to be out with. I air that over the radio, that was pounded into my head by my field training officers. And then, I walk up to the car and approach the vehicle. Because when you’re in your car, you’ve got a laptop to the right of you, you’ve got the door to your left. Sometimes, even people still have their seatbelt on. For all intents and purposes, you are a sitting duck right there. If somebody wants to do harm to you, that’s the worst place you can be, is stuck in your driver’s seat.
Dave: [00:08:25] I’ll give you an example. Sorry to cut you off, Dan, but I don’t really care.
Yeardley: [00:08:28] [laughs]
Dave: [00:08:30] I’m salty.
Yeardley: [00:08:31] He’s salty today.
Dave: [00:08:32] I had the Breakfast Blend Coffee with a little sugar [Yeardley laughing] and I am firing on all cylinders. You watch the movie, End of Watch, with Jake Gyllenhaal, and is it Michael–?
Dan: [00:08:47] Peña.
Dave: [00:08:48] Michael Peña. You watch the traffic stops, it’s clear they had a quality law enforcement technical advisor, because you watch the traffic stops and you watch how quickly Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña get out of the car, that’s realistic. If you’re hanging out in the car when you’re at a dead stop on a traffic stop, you are what we call cannon fodder. All the guy has to do is get out or turn around and start pouring rounds into where he thinks a passenger and a driver would be in a car. That’s why you get out, you’re not stuck, you’re not confined.
Dan: [00:09:19] And again, my FTO Mark pounded that into my head also, get out of the car. As I pull up to the back of this truck, I have my spotlight shining at the rear window of this pickup and I don’t see a head or a silhouette in the driver’s seat or the passenger seat. I get out of my car. I take a few steps forward, toward the driver’s side of the truck. I’ve got a flashlight in my hand and I’m shining my flashlight. Still don’t see anything. As I get to the bed of the truck, I see a male pop up, like he was leaned over to the right on the bench seat and was hiding, his head pops up, and I see him. I hear the car start, and the wheels start spinning, and off we go.
Yeardley: [00:10:08] He’s been hiding in the bed of the truck?
Dan: [00:10:10] He is not in the bed of the truck. He’s in the cab of the truck. He’s sitting on the driver’s seat, but he’s leaned way over to the right, because I think he saw me drive by. But one thing he did was he tapped the brake, and he had the key in it, and the brake lights flickered. That’s what caught my attention. So, the wheels spin, off we go. He’s heading southbound. I run back to my car, I let dispatch know, “I’ve got one run in front of me,” which he’s not running, he’s driving from me. This is why you listen to your car chases afterward and go, “Oh, I should probably be a little more clear on that.” You’re like, “He’s running, speed’s 85.” You’re like, “He’s amazing! He’s a cheetah!”
Yeardley: [00:10:50] [laughs] He’s the bionic man.
Dan: [00:10:53] Usain Bolt. So, off we go. We go tearing down this residential street. There’s a school further down the street. It’s 25 mile an hour zone, and we’re upwards of 50 miles an hour within a couple seconds. We take a right onto another residential street. He quickly takes a left and I recognize that street is a dead end.
Yeardley: [00:11:28] So, you’ve got this guy in a truck cornered on a dead-end street, and then what happens?
Dan: [00:11:35] It’s a cul-de-sac. Houses all at the end, they’re tightly packed houses. He goes down to the end of the cul-de-sac. It was clear to me that he didn’t know exactly where he was at that point, because he slowed down almost to a stop, like, “Okay, what do I do now?” Meanwhile, I’m there behind him, I’m on the radio, getting ready for him to foot bail, to take off on foot out of this car, and all of a sudden, I see the reverse lights come on. Wheels start spinning again and he’s probably 20 feet in front of me. He’s now accelerating back toward the front bumper of my car. So, I throw it in reverse and I spin my wheels and I go back about five feet. And then, all of a sudden, he puts it in drive again, and he does a uey, a U-turn in the cul-de-sac and off we go from where we came.
Yeardley: [00:12:26] So now he passes you going the opposite direction?
Dan: [00:12:29] Yeah, and I got a look at his face. I had enough light– when he had turned around, my headlights hit his face, and I could clearly see his face. I didn’t recognize him, but I was able to get clothing description. He had a fleece jacket on and a white t-shirt. He had very short hair and was a white male, probably in his 30s. I got a good look at him. That’s important, because if he does get away, at least I know what he looks like, and maybe I can identify him. We take off back out of that cul-de-sac, we go back to the road that he initially made the ride on, and then eventually went down the cul-de-sac. Then, we start weaving through this residential neighborhood. These are like curves streets, there are a lot of cul-de-sacs. You think of your typical American suburban neighborhood, around a school and a park. The streets don’t just run north, south, east, west.
Yeardley: [00:13:22] It’s not a grid.
Dan: [00:13:23] It’s not a grid at all. It’s a maze.
Yeardley: [00:13:25] How fast are you going through these residential streets?
Dan: [00:13:28] 50, 60 miles an hour. He’s blowing through stop signs. There are some humps in the street. The truck is like almost jumping when he hits some of these humps in the street, blowing through these stop signs. I have to slow and clear those stop signs, I can’t just blow through them. So, he’s getting out in front of me a little bit. Meanwhile, he’s making all these turns. So, every time we make a turn, I want to be clear on where I am. Meanwhile, you’re thinking about this maze that I’m in and I’ve got to be pretty accurate on direction of travel. So, eastbound, westbound, southbound, northbound. We don’t say, “Okay, he took a right on this street,” because that doesn’t help people who are coming to cover me.
Yeardley: [00:14:09] From the opposite direction, that would be left for them.
Dan: [00:14:12] Yeah. So, we give compass directions, which drives my friends nuts.
Yeardley: [00:14:18] It’s sort of funny because whenever you guys describe a setting, you do always use those compass directions. I, as a civilian, never use– I mean, in this house, I know which way is north, south, east, west because I’ve lived in LA so long, but otherwise, forget it.
Dave: [00:14:34] Yeah. Hey, potential officer candidates who want to be officers, start getting familiarized with cardinal direction. North, south, east, west. Always have an idea of which way you’re pointed. Some cars have up in the mirror where it says like temperature and everything, it has a compass up there, but mine didn’t. [Yeardley laughs] I had an old clunker Crown Vic that had bad suspension and crappy brakes. They didn’t even have the CD player in the stereo. It was AM-FM. And you don’t even get like the two FM options.
Yeardley: [00:15:10] [laughs]
Dan: [00:15:11] No AUX, you can’t plug in your phone and like play Pandora or–
Yeardley: [00:15:15] Oh, not that you should be?
Dan: [00:15:17] Well, you’ve got to have music.
Dave: [00:15:19] I’ll say this, I loved driving Ford Crown Victorias because I knew exactly what to expect from them. But I’ve also spun those things out in a 360 going, “Okay. I don’t have control this car right now.” The new police cars that we have, be it the Chevrolets with traction control or the Ford SUVs that we drive at our department, I’ve tried really, really hard to spin those and I’ve never been able to. The old Crown Vic is just rear-wheel drive. Depending on road conditions, it’s like sledding, sometimes.
Dan: [00:15:54] You’re drifting.
Dave: [00:15:55] Yeah. A lot of horsepower in that engine though, but it takes a while to get there.
Yeardley: [00:15:59] It seems like a funny choice then for a police car. But it is the historically ubiquitous model that most police departments used.
Dan: [00:16:07] Yeah, absolutely. So, like I said, I’m giving east, west, north, south directions. And I recognize in my voice that I’m a little– I wouldn’t say it’s panic, but I’ve got adrenaline pumping through me, and I’m a little excited and you can hear it my voice.
Yeardley: [00:16:29] Dave is laughing.
Dan: [00:16:30] Because he’s been there. Every cop who’s been in a chase knows what I’m going through at this point. It’s my first one, and my adrenaline is spiking. I have a general knowledge of where I am, but I don’t know exactly where I am, like street numbers. I’m 90% of the way there but I don’t know exactly. That makes a difference, because if we make a turn, and I give out the wrong street and then the chase ends there, and I’m telling people to come to one street and we’re one block over, and they come around the corner expecting to see me there, my cover officers, and I’m not there, then we got a problem. We said a lot of things can happen in five seconds out there.
[00:17:15] At some point, we come out to a main street. It was the original street that I was driving westbound on when I saw these taillights flicker, and I recognized that, “Okay, I know what street that is for sure.”
Yeardley: [00:17:29] So, are you back where you started?
Dan: [00:17:30] We’re east of where I’ve started, but we’re back on this main road. I could feel it in my voice when the suspect, when he turned eastbound, I said, “Eastbound blank road.” I felt my body relax. I felt my mind slow down. Things slowed down. I took a deep breath. That’s one thing that I always would try to tell younger officers, “Take a breath. Relax.” You can feel it when you’re driving in these situations. Are you driving with your shoulders? If your arms are so tense, that it’s your shoulders turning the steering wheel, you’re in trouble. You want to be relaxed. So, we head out east, now speeds are really increasing because this is more of a straight stretch. It’s almost a highway.
Dave: [00:18:17] He’s heading out into the country where there’s acres between houses.
Dan: [00:18:22] So, we’re out on that road. Speeds are up to 90-95 miles an hour. It gets a little curvy toward the end of that road where it runs into an actual highway. This highway really runs the width of our state. Goes from the west end of our state, pretty much to the east end of our state, hundreds of miles. So, I can hear other units saying, “Hey, I’m at this location. I’m going to try to catch up to you when you pop out on this main highway.” And one of them, guy worked many nights with and I’ve been in a lot of chases with, his name is Charlie, I hear him say, “I’m going to try to set up spike strips when you pop out on the highway up here.” As we come around this corner, there’s another 200 yards. It’s a straightaway till you get up to this stop sign where this highway is. This highway is 55 miles an hour, but cars are frequently going 65, 70 through there.
Yeardley: [00:19:21] You have to get on that highway from a stop sign?
Dan: [00:19:24] Yeah.
Dave: [00:19:24] It’s a T intersection too. So, if you go straight through that stop sign, you are in a tree or a grove of trees. There’s nowhere to go.
Dan: [00:19:33] As we’re approaching this stop sign, you have to go up this hill because the main highway is up above you. I start coming up this hill and I see the overhead lights, the red and blues of Charlie, my cover officer just getting there and he sees us coming toward him and he said, “I’m going to be too late. I’m not going to be able to get spike strips out.”
Dave: [00:19:57] You’ve got to park, run around to your trunk, pop the trunk, pull these things out, get them all situated, throw them, get them in a good position. You need a couple minutes.
Dan: [00:20:06] And you have to be in a position of safety. Officers all the time, and we see it in law enforcement, you get these email alerts and they’ll say, “Here’s a video of a cop getting hit by the suspect while he’s trying to deploy spike strips.”
Yeardley: [00:20:20] Hit with the car?
Dan: [00:20:22] Yeah, it happens all the time.
Dave: [00:20:24] Drive directly at the officer. They recognize the officer is getting out to throw spike strips out in from them. It’s like a steerable bullet. They just drive over the officer.
Yeardley: [00:20:32] Oh, my God!
Dave: [00:20:34] Yeah. There’s plenty of dashcam footage of this where you’re just like, “That guy’s dead.”
Yeardley: [00:20:39] Oh, geez!
Dan: [00:20:41] Happens way too frequently. Honestly, it has to be ideal conditions for me to ever want to deploy spike strips because I’ve just seen too many videos of officers being killed. Charlie says, “Hey, I’m too late. Not going to be able to deploy spike strips.” As we get up to the intersection, the suspect, he turns eastbound, so we head eastbound on this highway, and we are heading out into the country. They’re like farms out here, we’re heading to the mountains. So, we’re in the flats at this point, but we’re heading toward the mountains. And the suspect’s got a four-by-four pickup that he’s driving, and I’ve got a Crown Vic with probably half bald tires on them.
Yeardley: [00:21:26] [laughs] What time of year?
Dan: [00:21:29] It’s late summer. Probably August.
Yeardley: [00:21:31] So, at least no snow.
Dan: [00:21:32] No snow. It’s a warm night. And so, we head out east and Charlie gets in behind me, and now since Charlie is my second officer, he takes over the radio duties. So, I can just concentrate on driving. And so, he’s giving the updates on road conditions, traffic conditions, how’s the suspect driving? Is he in the oncoming lane?
Yeardley: [00:21:55] They do that?
Dan: [00:21:56] They do that. Yeah. These people run from the police, they recognize the public safety hazard. Sometimes, the more aggressive they drive, they feel like, “We’re going to terminate the pursuit.” Well, on this night, there’s nobody on the road. So, that’s not really a factor that we’re dealing with here. If it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we wouldn’t have been chasing him.
Yeardley: [00:22:16] Sure.
Dan: [00:22:17] During that sequence, where we start heading out east on this road, I remember dispatch came back and the initial plate that I’d given for this car came back to a Ford Escort.
Yeardley: [00:22:28] Oh, stolen plate.
Dan: [00:22:30] Stolen plate, at the very minimum. I’m chasing a Dodge pickup. I know it’s not a Ford Escort.
Yeardley: [00:22:36] Chances are he didn’t just steal the license plate to put it on his own car.
Dan: [00:22:40] Correct. So, I’m thinking this is probably a stolen vehicle. We head out speeds are still– we’re at 85, 90 miles an hour. We make another couple of turns, and we turn on to a road that basically links the very east side of our city to the northeast side of our city, but you’re way out in the country, and I’m familiar with it. It’s windy, it’s straight, in some stretches, speeds are still– I don’t think we ever dropped below 75 for the first probably five miles of it, just so he could navigate some curves. But then, the suspect, he would slow down and try to draw me in, and then slam on the brakes. I think he was trying to get me to run into the back of his truck, and it would damage my radiator and my engine so it’ll disable my car. You see this, and then at some points, he would speed up to like 65, slam on the brakes, throw it in reverse. So, you’d see the reverse lights come on, and he’d actually start coming back toward me. He did that a couple times, and it’s not good on your transmission to be doing that, because are you really at a full stop when you slam it in reverse? No, you’re not. Quickly, he disabled his own vehicle.
Yeardley: [00:24:00] Does it just conk out because it’s made to do that as a safety measure?
Dan: [00:24:04] It didn’t completely conk out, it didn’t stop the engine. What he had done is he had damaged the transmission, and now the car would only go about 15 miles an hour. We’re in the middle of this rural area. There are fields on both sides of us. It’s a two-lane road. There’s a ditch on both sides. Most of those properties out there have barbed wire because they have cattle and other livestock. A lot of these ditches are lined with blackberry bushes. It’s almost like a wall and you don’t want to get caught up in that stuff.
Yeardley: [00:24:39] Because they’re thorny.
Dan: [00:24:39] Yeah. It’s basically barbed wire too with a lot more barbs. Where his car finally conks out is right in this stretch where it’s probably 150 yards of– it’s lined by these blackberries and barbed wire and these pretty steep deep ditches and that’s where his car conks out. He’s in the oncoming lane, and Charlie is to my left. I’m in the regular driving lane. Charlie’s to my left, and we’re going about 15 miles an hour. We’ve got lights and sirens on, we’re in the middle of nowhere. There are houses spaced out, they could probably hear us. All of a sudden, I see Charlie sprinting down the road. I’m like, “What the hell.” And then out in front of suspect’s vehicle, I’m like, “Oh, there’s the suspect.” He had bailed out of his car. I couldn’t see it from my angle because he was in the oncoming lane. So, his driver’s side was right next to that ditch. He quickly recognized also, I’m not going to be able to make it over those blackberry bushes. They’re like probably seven feet high. They’re just going to catch him. He’s just going to be–
Yeardley: [00:25:48] He’s going to be blackberry pie.
Dan: [00:25:49] Yeah, he’s going to be in a world of hurt if he tries to get through those blackberries. Charlie ends up sprinting past me, and I’m like, “Okay, Charlie’s in foot pursuit.” And I’m sure my dispatch was like, “Charlie’s in foot pursuit. Why aren’t you?” I just start driving down the road. I’m driving down the road. I’m getting even with this suspect. Right as we get to the end of these blackberries, the suspect turns left, westbound, there’s a house that is actually pretty close to the road. He runs around the north side of the house, Charlie’s right behind him, and I’m about 15 yards behind Charlie at this point, and now I’m on foot and I’m running toward them. The backyard kind of goes on a downgrade. So, it’s probably a hill that’s 10 feet down.
As I get to the bottom of the hill, what I see is this suspect who’s shaped like a fire hydrant. He’s short, but he is built. We call it prison strong. He looks prison strong, like he’s just spent the last five years working out every day and is so you can tell he’s physical. I see that Charlie is trying to tackle this guy and this guy turns around and Charlie is now down on the ground, and this guy’s getting ready to kick Charlie in the face.
Yeardley: [00:27:25] The suspect is still standing.
Dan: [00:27:27] The suspect is on his feet and Charlie is on the ground, tried to tackle him, wasn’t able to bring him down, and now Charlie is basically exposed. I came running down that hill behind and I tackled this guy as hard as I could. Again, like tackling a fire hydrant, he’s just solid muscle. And he was short, he had a really low center of gravity. I tackled him and this is the first real knockdown, drag-out fight that I was ever in. He wasn’t trying to get away from us. Most people will struggle and they’ll try to get away from you. He wasn’t trying to get away, he was up for the fight. Part of our pursuit policy is we only allow two cars to leave city limits, depending on the offense. So, if it was a murder suspect, we’d send everybody. In this case, we’ve got stolen plates for sure. We don’t know that the truck was stolen. We’ve got stolen plates, and we’ve got eluding by vehicle which is a felony in our state. So, we end up fighting this suspect. His name is Jay. And Jay is up for the fight, and Jay is swinging. He didn’t hit me. He never hit me. He took a couple swings at me.
[00:28:36] He hit Charlie in the side of the head and caught him good. Charlie didn’t go down. We’re trying to get this guy on the ground. He’s swinging, he’s kicking at us, and at one point– we had just gotten tasers. And this was my first taser deployment. So, I pulled my taser out. I yell at Charlie I’m going to tase him, I shoot the taser. And I get this guy in the torso on his left side. One of the darts hits the guy kind of right in the pectoral muscle, and the other one hits probably six to eight inches below that. We like to have a bigger spread because the more spread you have, the more muscles are affected by the current of the taser and it’ll lock somebody up.
[00:29:19] I got a decent spread, six to eight inches. If that’s all I get, then that’s all I get. Suspect goes down. The taser cycles for five seconds. So, I’m giving him commands, “Turnover on your stomach. Put your hands out. You’re under arrest.” And right when the five seconds is over, Jay gets up. He hops back up to his feet and he charges at me, and I hit the trigger again.
Yeardley: [00:29:45] On the taser?
Dan: [00:29:46] On the taser, because the wires are still attached. So now, he gets another five seconds. All I’m trying to do is get some compliance out of him. This fight’s been going on for over a minute at this point, but it takes a lot out of you. You go from fresh to exhausted in a really short period of time.
Yeardley: [00:30:06] Because it’s maximum effort.
Dan: [00:30:07] Yeah. And cops are carrying around like 35 pounds of gear.
Dave: [00:30:11] And multiple guns. Any given shift that I’m working in a patrol uniform, I will tell you I have at least two guns on me, at least, and they’re in different places. One’s holstered, obviously, but you don’t know where hands go in a fight, in a scrum, they could end up anywhere. In addition to that, I have knives on me. We have all kinds of stuff that could hurt me or him. But if that guy just randomly gets his hand on something that he recognizes as a handle of something, like a knife or a gun, that’s a big holy shit moment for a police officer.
Dan: [00:30:44] And Charlie’s got a taser too. What if he grabs Charlie’s taser? There’s just a lot of variables. This is why officers don’t mess around in fights. This is why they look so brutal because I am fighting someone and there’s lots of weapons in the game. And I can’t lose.
Yeardley: [00:31:03] Right. And the goal is to get it over as quickly as possible.
Dave: [00:31:06] We’re mandated to do that. The quicker it’s over, the less opportunity we have for someone to get hurt, either the suspect, a third party, or the officers involved.
Dan: [00:31:16] So, I cycled the taser again, for another five seconds. Again, Jay goes down our suspect, and I give him commands, “Put your hands out.” “At this point, I look over at Charlie and Charlie’s exhausted. I can tell that Charlie doesn’t have much left. I’m still fresh because I didn’t have to run the initial 150 meters wearing big heavy boots, 35 pounds of gear.
Yeardley: [00:31:40] But you did, you were right behind Charlie.
Dan: [00:31:42] I was driving for a lot of that. Charlie’s expended quite a bit more energy than I have and he’s also been hit by this suspect multiple times. I’ve been lucky. He hasn’t hit me yet. And I don’t want him to hit me, because this guy can fight. Again, he’s not disengaging, he wants to fight. After that second five-second cycle on the taser, Jay gets up and just bum rushes me and goes right over the top of me like a steamroller. And now he’s on top of me and I’m thinking, “Oh, damn.” This is bad, because now he’s in a position of advantage. He’s on top of me and my cover office, Charlie is exhausted. He’s still in the fight, but he doesn’t have as much energy. And so, I hear Charlie saying code three cover, out of breath. He’s like, [in an out of breath tone] “Code three cover, code three cover.”
Yeardley: [00:32:38] Which means get here right now, right?
Dan: [00:32:40] Yeah, we needed you yesterday. During the fight with Jay, he took a couple swings at me, he got me a couple times, but he didn’t land a punch. He brushed the side of my face, but he never squarely punched me. Charlie came over, Charlie tackled him, and both of us are now working on Jay, trying to get his arms and hands behind his back. Again, he hasn’t been searched for weapons either. He hasn’t displayed one at this point. But we haven’t been through his pockets. We haven’t been through his waistband, and that’s typically where a lot of people will carry something that’s lethal, is in their waistband. When Charlie comes over, Jay is on top of me, Charlie’s able to basically push Jay off of me. And we’re able to restrain him enough to get them in handcuffs and affect the arrest finally.
Yeardley: [00:33:35] And what was Jay’s story?
Dan: [00:33:37] He was 30 days out of prison. He was still on parole, and what he was on parole for was stealing cars and burglary. When we go back to the pickup truck, up on the road, a couple 100 yards away from us, we run the VIN, it’s a stolen truck. We look in the bed of the pickup, and it’s full of power tools. And we were able to track those power tools to a burglary that happened at a construction site. So, Jay was up to his old tricks and he hadn’t been able to find gainful employment. He knew one way he could acquire money was to commit a burglary, and he didn’t have access to a vehicle. So, he stole a car. He switched the plates on it.
Jay wasn’t injured. I’m sure he was uncomfortable. He’d been punched. He’d been tased. I remember talking to Charlie directly after this fight, and he was trying to catch his breath, and he looked at me and he said, “How much longer did you have left?” And I said, “I had another 30 seconds to a minute I could have fought at that pace that we were fighting with that much exertion.” And he said, “I only had 10 seconds.”
Yeardley: [00:34:48] Oh, boy.
Dan: [00:34:49] And I said, “Okay.” And he goes, “If I wouldn’t have been able to get them off of you, I would have shot him.” That was the first time where I was like, “Oh, boy.” Charlie was a 10-year police officer, I’m a baby cop, I’d just been cut loose from my FTO and was on my own, finally. And for me to hear that from a more experienced officer who’d been in a lot of fights, and he said, that’s the first time I ever thought, we’re losing this fight, and one of us is going to die. That was a sobering moment for me. That was the first time I ever deployed the taser. I ended up using my taser four times in my career. It only worked once.
Yeardley: [00:35:32] That one time?
Dan: [00:35:33] That one time and it really didn’t work.
Yeardley: [00:35:35] Well, it didn’t stop him.
Dan: [00:35:36] Yeah, at one point, after the five seconds that he rode the lightning, he reached over, ripped the darts out, broke the wires and ran over the top of me. When he was running toward me, I was hitting the trigger, he had already ripped the darts out and broken that connection. And so, he didn’t have to worry about the taser anymore. He just came straight toward me and ran me over. I mean he hit me like a running back going through the hole at the goal line.
I remember talking to Jay after that. I was taking him to jail, and he said, “Hey, I hope you know it’s not personal.” And I said, “It’s not personal for me either.” And he said, “I appreciate you being nice to me after this whole thing was over.” And I said, “It’s only personal until I get you in handcuffs,” because it’s a fight. Once I get you in handcuffs, now my responsibilities change to, now I have to make sure that you’re okay.” And I asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital. He said, “No, I’m fine. I’ve got some bumps and bruises but I’m going to be fine.”
Dan: [00:36:51] Jay went to prison for six years.
Yeardley: [00:36:54] Because he violated his parole?
Dan: [00:36:56] Violated his parole, and he had new charges. Jay goes to prison for six years. I’m working graveyard again. I do a traffic stop on a Dodge pickup, and there are two people in it. I get up to the driver side and I recognize him. It’s Jay, and he recognizes me. Jay is now freshly out of prison again. I said, “Well, I’m glad you stopped, Jay.” And he goes, “Yeah, I remember the last time.” And he goes, “You’re the guy, right?” And I said, “Yeah, I’m the guy.” And I said, “How are you doing, man?” He goes, “I’m doing better. I’m clean now.”
Yeardley: [00:37:33] So, he was addicted to drugs when you first arrested him?
Dan: [00:37:37] He was a methamphetamine user. The first time when he got out of prison before I met him, he had quickly relapsed. And this time, I think he recognized, “I can’t keep doing this the rest of my life.” And Jay had gotten clean. He had his girlfriend in the car with him.
Yeardley: [00:37:55] Was it his car?
Dan: [00:37:56] It was his car and he had a valid license, which surprised me. He’d been out of prison for about eight months at this point. He said, “I haven’t used. I don’t plan on using.” And I said, “I’m really happy to hear that.” One thing he said to me, he said, “I always remember that you were always fair with me.” And I said, “Hey, man, like I said at the time, and I remember our conversation on the way to the jail, it ain’t personal, and I’m happy that you’re doing better.” And I was sincere. Unfortunately, about three months later, Jay gets in another car chase, and Dave, you could probably take it from here.
Dave: [00:38:34] I was a detective at the time working during the daytime, middle of the week. And I hear that one of our state agencies is chasing a vehicle associated with Jay and that Jay had been associated with a couple of previous calls, one of which in which he took off from the police and that agency had a no pursuit policy. So, they didn’t follow him. They just watched him drive away.
Yeardley: [00:39:00] Was he in a stolen car, or his own car?
Dave: [00:39:02] He was in a stolen car. And I had interest in Jay because I was doing follow-up on a child abuse case. Not that Jay was the suspect but he was someone I needed to speak to, to get background on the actual suspect of this child abuse case, which involves someone in Jay’s family. I won’t get more specific than that. So, I’ve been looking for Jay for a few weeks. And then, I heard that Jay took off from the police a few nights prior to this. Then, I hear over the radio, “Hey, Jay is running from the police in his vehicle,” a vehicle he actually owns, it’s registered to him.
Jay has left our city limits and he’s headed out into the country kind of the middle of nowhere, rural setting, just the woods and houses here and there. Hearing where they were, I beat feet and headed right out to where Jay was last seen.
[00:39:55] I drove out that way in my unmarked police SUV, and every agency, county, state and us and another agency east of us, they were assisting with setting up perimeter. So, there’s cops everywhere. Basically, Jay had run from the state agency. They had this no pursue policy, but their police officer knows the road so well that he’s like, “Well, there’s only a couple of ways to get through that neighborhood.” This neighborhood is rural, but it’s a big loop. So, there’s one way in and one way out of this neighborhood. This trooper comes across Jay’s car. The doors are wide open, the car is high, centered on a mound of dirt, and Jay’s nowhere to be seen. So, he’s off on foot, likely trying to get as far away as he can from the car that the trooper’s just come across.
Yeardley: [00:40:49] Describe what high centered is.
Dave: [00:40:51] It has driven up on a dirt berm. The axle is basically resting on the berm and though two front tires are off the ground, so it can’t go anywhere. It’s like lodged. So, I started looking at this area, and I’m like, “Jay could run that direction for 500 yards.” He could run that direction for 400 yards, he could run that direction for another 700 yards, where he’d be right in the open or he could run that direction for about 50 yards and he’d be in the woods. I know where I’m going.
Yeardley: [00:41:21] To the woods.
Dave: [00:41:22] Right. We set up this– it’s probably the biggest perimeter I had ever been a part of. But you could see people’s lights. I would look across, kind of where I initially set up, I was up on this raised bluff and I could look out to the northeast. I could see emergency lights a mile and a half away at a different intersection. That’s a big perimeter. We got actually got one of our police dogs out, our canine officer, Andrew. It was winter, very rainy, very cold, damp day, and probably temperatures in the 30s with drizzle throughout the day. Wherever Jay was going in any direction, he’s running through standing water in these fields.
Yeardley: [00:42:06] Even if he goes to the woods?
Dave: [00:42:08] Even if he’s in the woods. It’s very marshy, there’s creeks. He’s got to run through creek beds to get to opposite sides, the other side of the creek. So, we know Jay was going to be cold and soaking wet and covered in mud.
Dan: [00:42:22] By the way, Dave, I know how you used to dress when you were a detective. Can you describe your attire that day?
Dave: [00:42:29] I was wearing a suit without a tie.
Yeardley: [00:42:32] [laughs] Oh, God!
Dan: [00:42:34] And some nice leather shoes.
Dave: [00:42:36] Yeah, I had some nice Oxford cap toe, toe cap? What do you call them?
Yeardley: [00:42:40] Cap toe.
Dave: [00:42:41] But I was in the confines of my own little SUV, probably listening to some sort of soft rock like Billy Ocean.
Dan: [00:42:48] I’m thinking John Tesh or Yanni.
Dave: [00:42:50] Easy listening, maybe some yacht rock. So, I had the heater going, I’m feeling pretty good, I’ve got a full tank of gas, I can do this all day. But I’m watching Andrew and his dog traipsing three quarters of a mile north of me through this field that I can hear when they’re on the radio, you can hear the sloshing as they’re walking, giving updates about which direction travel they’re going. Dan knows how this goes with canines. You can see when they’re on a track, so Andrew’s canine, at times is pulling like a sled dog. At other times, it looks like it’s just out for a walk, like where’s the next place to go to the bathroom. So, I’ve got my binoculars and I’m just watching this, kind of trying to get an idea, “How are we going to do this?” Jay is known to run. Jay doesn’t give up. If Jay got through our perimeter, we’re screwed but we’ve got a really wide perimeter. So, who knows?
[00:43:42] Well, Sergeant Dave is on this. Everybody that’s been on this podcast from our detective section is on this perimeter. So, everyone’s out looking for Jay. Eventually, Andrew and his dog end up at a property where there’s a kind of an abandoned-looking trailer. It’s got sticker bushes that are growing up, not all the way over it. But certainly, it doesn’t look like it’s moved in several months. In Andrew announces, “I need some additional units to this address, and I have signs that there’s fresh activity around this camper.” And sure enough, once we got about four of us there, and Andrew gave an announcement, said, “Hey, this is going to be searched with the dog.” Door pops open and Jay goes, give up and he is soaking wet and shivering.
Dan: [00:44:34] He’s probably on the verge of hypothermia too.
Dave: [00:44:37] Yeah. I’d say we’re in the neighborhood of three hours. From the time that he bailed from the car to the time that we actually put cuffs on him, it’s probably three hours.
Yeardley: [00:44:46] And he’s not dressed for the weather?
Dave: [00:44:48] He’s got a cotton hoodie. He’s got blue jeans, and he’s got running shoes on with white cotton socks. I looked at Andrew and his dog and they look like they had been for a swim. I’m sure Jay was miserable, and is almost to the point where he’s like, “I’m just going to give up. Enough.” We get him warm, and he’s not injured. He didn’t get bit or anything like that by Andrew’s dog, but ended up taking him back to the police station to talk to him about my case. He lawyers up on the other cases.
Yeardley: [00:45:21] On the car theft?
Dave: [00:45:22] Right, and the eludes and all that. I say, “Hey, I have nothing criminal I want to speak to you about, but I have to ask you questions about this certain family member and your knowledge of the situation.” I let him know, “Hey, I’m the brother of that guy from that pursuit way back when.” We had a conversation like he and I were having lunch or having a beer together. Totally cordial. He was totally cooperative, gave me the information I needed to know. Very cooperative, I found it him to be very friendly, articulate. And he just said, “Hey, man, I’ve been slipping for the last couple of weeks and here I am again.” But he said, “I’m conditioned to run. When I see police lights, I run. That’s my initial reaction, is run. And when I’m cornered, I fight.” And he did the whole, “It’s not personal.” And he actually told me, “Hey, what’s the deal with your brother?” And I said, “Oh, he’s gone. He’s moved on to greener pastures.” And he said, “Well, tell him I said hi.”
Dan: [00:46:30] Yeah, at that point, I had retired and I’d moved down to LA. But I do remember, my brother sent me a text and said, “Guess who I just ran into?”
Yeardley: [00:46:38] Oh, really?
Dan: [00:46:39] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:46:39] That’s cool.
Dave: [00:46:41] So, Jay has his issues, but when he’s clean or when he’s very cold, he’s a very nice man, actually.
Yeardley: [00:46:47] [laughs] So interesting. That’s a great story. I’m just curious why so many people were part of that perimeter. Did it have to do with your case, Dave?
Dave: [00:46:57] No, it just has to do with, there had been an information email sent out countywide that hits all the agencies in our area, that basically says, “This guy’s back at it. And here’s a little mini history of what Jay does when he’s not clean and be on the lookout for him.” So, I was already looking for him. Had I not been looking for him, given this email, I’d have been looking for him because I would have known he’s going to run. Cops love when people run, right?
Yeardley: [00:47:27] [laughs]
Dave: [00:47:29] Beside the fact that I was already looking for him, every agency that works that part of our county just sent all their resources to that area, because, “Nothing else is going on. Let’s do this and let’s find this guy.”
Yeardley: [00:47:43] Amazing.
Dan: [00:47:44] I still think about Jay.
Yeardley: [00:47:46] You do?
Dan: [00:47:46] Yeah. Because like Dave said, he is really cordial, and you can tell it’s not personal with him. I just wanted him to get clean. I hope that he found programs while he was in prison. I mean, obviously, after my initial encounter with him and the chase, and he went to prison, he got clean and he’s a completely different guy. He’s a completely different guy, and you just hope. Those are the situations where you just hope, like, “Man, I hope the lightbulb turns on for you. I really do.”
Yeardley: [00:48:20] Where’s Jay now?
Dave: [00:48:21] I don’t see him on the roster, so I think he is probably free and out.
Yeardley: [00:48:27] On the prison roster, is that what you mean?
Dave: [00:48:29] Correct. We have a way to check prison rosters. He is not on. At least in our state, he’s not on the prison roster. Hopefully, he’s doing well and making the best of 2021.
Dan: [00:48:40] If Jay’s listening, hey, man, I root for you, man. I really do.
Yeardley: [00:48:44] Yeah, absolutely. Wow, Small Town Fam, that marks the end of In Pursuit Part 1. But stay tuned for In Pursuit Part 2. Detective Dan, thank you.
Dan: [00:48:57] Till next time.
Yeardley: [00:48:58] And Dave, thank you.
Dave: [00:49:01] Goodbye.
Yeardley: [00:49:02] Goodbye.
Yeardley: [00:49:11] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and co-produced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty, and Alec Cowin. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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