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Marion Police Investigates Pursuit After Fatal Crash
MARION, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Local residents say its not completely uncommon for drivers to take the turn on Country Club Drive a little too fast. It usually just ends in a few flattened plants on a front law. But after a fatal crash last night during a police chase, the Marion Police Department is now taking a look at its pursuit policies.
"The car came up this way, hit the wall, and was airborne over the top of this retaining wall, said Gary Whitehill, who owns the home that the car crashed into.
Gary was jolted awake by the sound of the police chase ending at his house.
"Heard an enormous crash. I'd fallen asleep with my TV on. I thought the sound came from my TV, said Whitehill.
A police chase ending in his garage, the driver killed in the crash. To avoid any conflict of interest, the crash itself is being looked into by the Linn County Sheriffs Office.
"Was speed involved, were drugs involved, was alcohol involved. Try to figure out the causal factors as to why the vehicle left the roadway, said Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner.
Meanwhile, Marion Police are investigating what led to the chase through a residential neighborhood.
"The police pursuit policy gives some discretion to the officer. They have to weigh the danger to the public of a pursuit versus the danger of letting the person go, said Marion City Manager Lon Pluckhahn.
And thats what local residents want to know: is a police chase near a residential neighborhood, even in the middle of the night, ok?
"The only thing you lose at nighttime, that could be somewhat significant, is you lose your visibility. So you really can't see except for what the headlights are illuminating, said Sheriff Gardner.
Gary spent the day cleaning up the debris and answering questions.
"I guess my philosophy is: houses can be fixed, it's just too bad somebody had to die, said Whitehill.
Sheriff Gardner said its customary for one agency to ask another for assistance in an investigation, especially to remove any appearance of a conflict of interest.