Burglary suspect crashes into police cruisers during high-speed - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Burglary suspect crashes into police cruisers during high-speed chase

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Witnesses say it was like watching a television show about cops. Witnesses say it was like watching a television show about cops.
The Memphis Police Department says the high-speed pursuit began after the suspect stole the Cadillac from a man in the parking lot of Red Robin restaurant on Germantown Parkway. The Memphis Police Department says the high-speed pursuit began after the suspect stole the Cadillac from a man in the parking lot of Red Robin restaurant on Germantown Parkway.
CORDOVA, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Crews had to cut a police officer out of a squad car when a wild chase ended in a multiple-vehicle crash Wednesday.

The Memphis Police Department says the high-speed pursuit began after police thought the suspect stole the Cadillac from a man in the parking lot of Red Robin restaurant on Germantown Parkway. This is after the suspect was being chased on foot by an off-duty officer from a YMCA where several lockers were burglarized.

Police revealed Thursday,54-year-old Paul Vlisak rented the vehicle that he was occupying and the vehicle was not carjacked.

Additional officers were dispatched to the scene to help. Officers followed the suspect to Dexter Road and Chimney Rock Boulevard where Vlisak struck three MPD squad cars.

Witnesses say it was like watching a television show about cops. Lisa Akbari was in traffic when cruisers sped by her.

"And then after that he went over into the park, like boom," said Akbari. "They're going down the left side of me, then the right side of me ... I mean, he must of been going 90 miles per hour. It was crazy."

One officer was injured and was transported to The MED non-critical condition. Vlisak was also transported in non-critical condition.

Some say innocent bystanders could have been hurt or killed.

Police say the decision to pursue any fleeing suspect is based on a lengthy policy in MPD's handbook. According to department rules, vehicle pursuits are acceptable only when officers believe the people in the car they are chasing committed a violent felony.

Even then, officers must get permission from a supervisor, at least a lieutenant, within one minute of beginning the pursuit.

MPD says it is still investigating this particular case from two angles. First, the alleged crimes of the man they were chasing and, second, how officers handled the matter.

Read the entire pursuit policy here.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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