I was charged for trying to recover my stolen vehicle – police did nothing, I thought they had caught the t… – The US Sun

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A CAR dealership owner has told how he tried to stop an alleged thief from stealing a full-size pickup from his lot.

Police turned around and charged the dealership owner with a crime after state lawmakers passed new road law safety guidance.

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A driver snagged a Ford Superduty from a dealership lotCredit: KIRO 7
A dealership owner was charged after chasing an alleged thief

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A dealership owner was charged after chasing an alleged thiefCredit: KIRO 7

The alleged thief walked onto Aaron Babcock’s dealership’s lot in Eatonville, Washington, and snagged a Ford Superduty pickup, according to Seattle-based CBS affiliate KIRO-TV.

Babcock said he left the pickup running on November 23, 2022, while he quickly ran inside the dealership’s office to get a “for sale” sign.

When he was away from the car, a person casually hopped into the driver’s seat and began driving away.

Babcock confronted the suspect on the dealership lot, pointing a gun towards them.

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“He was afraid of [the gun], but it didn’t stop him,” Babcock said.

“It was scary. I was putting myself in this position to stop him, and I could’ve gotten easily run over and could’ve died myself.”

Babcock was joined by two other dealership employees who pursued the vehicle on foot.

The Ford smashed into another pickup on the lot, causing $10,000 in damage to another car.

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The crash left him with increased car insurance rates, too, he said.

Court documents obtained by the television studio showed police attempted to stop the pickup after it was taken from the lot.

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However, state law prohibits police from giving high-speed chase to Washington roadways.

Further down the road, police attempted to decelerate the pickup with stop sticks.

The driver evaded the safety measures and crashed into another vehicle before pulling away.

“That was the most heartbreaking moment,” Babcock said.

“To show up and see all these cops there. I could see it from a distance, and I thought, ‘Oh good. They got him.'”

Babcock took the pursuit into his own hands as the pickup continued to escape.

Eventually, the Ford pickup’s engine failures from the crashes put an end to the high-speed chase.

Babcock held the suspect inside the car at gunpoint while police arrived.

Now, the pickup owner is set to go to court on May 13 to fight misdemeanor reckless driving charges.

Police allege Babcock sped through two red lights while he was in pursuit of his vehicle.

He said he doesn’t blame the police for the charges, but he wants state lawmakers to adjust the penalties for people in his position.

“No police officer, they don’t become law enforcement to not want to do their job,” he said.

“They want to enforce the laws. They want to help the community. It’s frustrating for them, I understand, to not be able to do that.”

Police have been undergoing a massive change in police pursuit guidance across the US.

The NHTSA reported 545 deaths during police pursuits in 2021, the highest recorded number in the agency’s history.

However, that number was likely a significant undercount, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Bystanders, vehicle passengers, and deaths after a chase is called off were not counted in the national statistics, The Chronicle found in national data sets.

The record number jumps by nearly 30% when the other fatalities are considered, according to the paper.

To combat roadway violence, Washington State passed laws that prohibited high-speed chases unless officers had probable cause of violent crimes, like domestic violence offenses, DUI, and vehicular assault.

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Facing a wave of national car thefts, the state is reconsidering the police regulation.

The state’s House and Senate passed new guidance in April to curb the restrictions, according to ABC affiliate KOMO.

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