St. Louis County executive defends police pursuit

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) – The top elected official in St. Louis County says police appeared to follow department policy in initiating a chase that ended when the car being pursued caused a fatal wreck.

County Executive Sam Page said in a statement on Friday that police “are put in a difficult position when they decide to pursue someone who is a danger to our community.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 31-year-old Daryl Powell is charged with murder for allegedly driving the getaway car on Tuesday after his passengers stole a cart of laundry detergent from a Dollar General store and beat an employee.

Powell fled from police and crashed into a car driven by 34-year-old Jerome Hightower, who died.

St. Louis NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt questioned whether the chase was justified “over some laundry detergent.”

St. Louis County Police Sgt. Tracy Panus said a supervisor will review the circumstances to determine if the officers followed department policy.

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