Posted by Rachel Leigh - email
(WFLX) - More than two and a half years later, the pain continues for two families. A frightening 100 mile per hour police chase of a drug suspect ended with the horrifying death of two people.
"Nobody can understand what that police chase cost me," said Bill Klewitz.
His son, 21-year-old Billy Klewitz, a gentle well-know musician, was driving to pick up his sister from work when he was hit head on by the fleeing drug suspect, 32-year-old Bobby Jones.
Both were killed in the crash.
To deal with her grief, Jones' mother opened a hotdog stand named in his memory. "Anyway that they can stop the chase, I think, that's a wonderful idea," said Delinda Bryant, Billy's mother.
One new product trying to save lives, called StarChase, is already being used by the Arizona State Police to stop the need for police chases.
StarChase can plant a GPS tracking device on the suspect's car, allowing police to back off any chase and track the suspect by satellite.
StarChase mounts a compressed air launcher in the grill of the police cruiser. Using a laser to target the fleeing car, a GPS module is fired and attached to it. Then, dispatch follows the satellite coordinates, and cops can back off without losing track.
The Georgia Chief's Association studied devices like StarChase and found two drawbacks. The police car has to be within about 40 feet of the suspect's car to be effective and the cost is about $6,000 per unit and each GPS firing costs around $500.
"When you start talking about equipping your entire patrol fleet with that type technology," said Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek. "In a perfect world would I try it? Absolutely."
Chief Cheek said the police's first mission is to protect life.
Bill Klewitz says he understands that all police chases cannot be avoided, but says the money for StarChase might be worth it. "One chase, one life, would be it. Any mother and father that had to go through what my wife and I have had to go through in the loss of Billy."