N.C. deputy crashes cruiser during chase

Matt Dees, Staff Writer
The News & Observer
Copyright 2006 The News and Observer

DURHAM- A sheriff's deputy who flipped his cruiser into a ditch Wednesday while chasing a breaking-and-entering suspect was following department chase procedure, officials say.

Jason Brooks, 25, a Durham deputy for two years, was pursuing a primer-gray Chevrolet Monte Carlo south on Midland Terrace about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. The driver of the Monte Carlo was suspected of breaking and entering on nearby Thompson Road.

The driver sped away when Brooks turned on his siren, and Brooks and a deputy in another car gave chase, said Lt. Tim Deck of the Durham County Sheriff's Office.

Just after crossing Camden Avenue, Brooks went off the road and overcorrected, sending his car tumbling into a ditch on the left side of the road, Deck said.

Brooks was trapped in the overturned car for about 10 minutes before firefighters pulled him out, banged up and bloody. He suffered cuts to his face from the windshield shattering and bruises from the impact. He was listed in good condition at Duke Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

It was unclear how fast Brooks or the car he was chasing were going at the time of the crash, but it was a high-speed pursuit. Investigators reconstructed the crash, and a report with those details should be released in coming days.

The Sheriff's Office chase policy has five levels.

Wednesday's chase was classified as a Level 3 because the suspect failed to stop for the siren, was speeding to elude arrest and was suspected of felony breaking and entering.

The Level 3 guidelines state, "A more aggressive vehicle posturing is allowed in pursuits of this level, to include increased speed."

Deck said deputies are asked to use their discretion.

The license tag on the car is VPE-5586. Anyone with information can call the Durham Sheriff's Office at 560-0900. 
Emergency workers inspect a Durham deputy's car after the vehicle careened into a ditch during a chase and overturned.

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