Cedar Rapids police car hit by train after chase - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids police car hit by train after chase

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- An early morning police chase in Cedar Rapids ended with two crashed vehicles and a suspect on the loose.  The crash happened around 3:30 Wednesday morning at the rail crossing near Otis Road and Cole Street. 

Police spotted someone behind the wheel of an SUV, who they'd recently busted for driving with a suspended license at 19th Street Southeast and Bever Avenue.  But the driver sped off after briefly talk with officers, so they pursued him to the train tracks.  The suspect drove onto the tracks and got stuck, then fled on foot.

"They started down that access road and at one point the commander said, 'You know what?  we're going to call off the chase.  It's not a good deal, and everything is okay.'  So the officers were trying to turn around and got stuck on the railroad tracks," said Sergeant Cristy Hamblin with the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

The railroad company was called but couldn't stop one of the two incoming trains in time.  So the train collided with the suspect's SUV and the squad car.  Luckily the officers weren't inside when the train smashed it.

Police are forced to make split decisions on whether or not to pursue a chase like the one that happened Wednesday.  Intense training plays a major role, and there are several standards officer use when choosing if they'll chase.

"We look at a variety of different criteria.  We'll look at the time of day and we look at the weather.  We look at the circumstances surrounding it as well," Hamblin said.

And since it was clear and quiet in the area where the suspect fled Wednesday, the chase order was given.  But considering the aftermath of the crash that followed the chase, Cedar Rapids Police say they'll carefully scrutinize every detail of what unfolded in hopes of preventing accidents like it in the future, while also improving the response in chase situations. 

So far, police haven't released a photo or description of the suspect they were chasing.  But they're hopeful he will be caught soon.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek


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