Ovett community questions police pursuit policies after triple fatal crash

Ovett community questions police pursuit policies after triple fatal crash

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The high-speed chase in Jones County that killed three people has many people in the Ovett community questioning the actions of authorities.

"They could've run over somebody innocent. They should not have chased. They should've got their tag numbers and then caught them later," Ovett resident Rayford Graham said.

Southern Miss Criminal Justice Professor and former law enforcement officer Alan Thompson said the fatal crash was an unfortunate situation.

"A goal I think in law enforcement is to prevent the loss of life, but accidents like these do happen. We try our best to mitigate and minimize those," Thompson said.

Thompson said Mississippi does not have a state law that regulates police pursuits and that policies differ from agency to agency.

"In some major metropolitan areas, police have adopted restrictive police policies," Thompson said.

This means certain criteria must be met.

"Violent felonies for example," he said.  "Often time the pursuing officer would have permission from his supervisor or shift commander in order to continue that pursuit."

Jones County deputies chased the victims for about 17 miles, but Thompson said this is atypical.

"Most pursuits are what I call micro pursuits. They're very short (and) they only last a matter of a couple of miles because of the speeds that are involved, and motorist often times do in fact wreck out," Thompson said.

Thompson said nationally police pursuits that result in death are low.

WDAM 7 News reached out to the Jones County Sheriff's Department to ask about their pursuit policies, but the department is not commenting on the wreck at this time.

Josh Lovett, Kayla Lovett and Rustin Sims were all killed Wednesday morning after a chase with a Jones Sheriff County deputy.