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by Donnie Wayne Sawser
Monday, Jun. 10, 2002 at 4:05 PM
Off-duty Vallejo cop leads Sacramento police on a high-speed chase and he isn't arrested or cited.
Man on the run: Vallejo police investigate officer involved in high-speed chase.
By Dan Judge, Vallejo Times-Herald, April 11, 2002
The Vallejo Police Department is conducting an investigation into reports that one of its off-duty officers led Sacramento police on a high-speed chase and was subsequently released without being arrested or ticketed, Lt. JoAnn West said Wednesday.
Sacramento County Sheriff's Department officials said they also are investigating whether the officer who released him acted appropriately. They would offer few other details about the incident that took place on March 17, however.
"We're initiating our own parallel investigation into the incident but we need to get more information from the Sacramento Sheriff's office," West said. "We will be doing an internal affairs investigation to try and determine if our officer committed any violations."
West would not identify the officer, saying it was confidential because the issue was a personnel matter.
The Sacramento Bee reported this week that an unidentified Vallejo officer in a Jaguar sedan led eight sheriff's deputies and city police officers on a high-speed chase on the Capitol City Freeway that reached speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Professional video photographer Tracy Mapes filmed officers stopping the Jaguar and eventually gave stills from the tape to the Bee. The pictures reportedly show the officers smiling and talking with the driver and his passenger before releasing them without a citation.
Sacramento City Police Officer David Topaz said the incident was blown out of proportion by the news report, however.
He said the chase only involved one crime scene investigator in an unmarked police car who observed the Jaguar doing about 90 mph in a 55-mph zone of the freeway.
When the investigator turned on her lights to pull the Jaguar over, the driver accelerated to more than 100 mph before stopping a short time later.
Topaz said he was the first of several police to arrive at the scene after the Jaguar had already pulled off the freeway and stopped for the investigator.
"He told that officer he thought she was a security guard, which was kind of a lame excuse, but it was completely within her discretion to cite him or not cite him," Topaz said, adding that many motorists are let off with a verbal warning.
"He would not have been arrested because speeding is an infraction and we don't arrest people in the state of California for getting infractions," he said.
Topaz said he never saw the Vallejo police officer and left after seeing the situation was under control.
Sacramento County Sheriff's officials said the incident took place in the late evening hours when traffic was light.
They would not identify any of the officers or confirm the number of patrol cars involved in the incident.
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