BEHIND THE NEWS: A deadly crash

October 20, 2008 1:30:22 PM PDT
There are good reasons that so many police departments across the country have strict rules about when they should and should not chase a suspect.

Typically, if the suspect poses a danger, then the chase is on -- and by danger I mean if the guy (and isn't it usually always a guy?) is wanted for murder or some other violent crime. But if the suspect is wanted for a less-horrific crime, like stealing a car, then typically, cops don't want to endanger innocent civilians by chasing the suspect.

And chasing is what cops in Bergen County, New Jersey were apparently doing last night through the streets of New Milford. A man, suspected of stealing a car, was being chased by about a dozen police cars, according to an eyewitness we interviewed. The man in the speeding stolen Mercedes crashed into another car. The impact was so hard, the other car broke into two pieces. A 10-year-old girl was killed, and a 14-year-old boy was critically hurt. (Read story)

Clearly the driver of the stolen car bears responsibility, and indeed he now faces murder charges; but tonight there are serious questions about whether he would have been going so fast had he not been chased by cops.

Cops are being rather tight-lipped about whether there was a pursuit underway at the time of the accident or whether they had stopped the chase a short time before.

Jen Maxfield covered the crash last night for us - and tonight at 11, she's asking the tough questions about police procedure in this accident.

We'll also have the latest from Wall Street -- another day that defies typical description. The Dow - all over the place again, closing at 8852.

The trading follows a fascinating OpEd piece in the New York Times by Warren Buffett, the most famous American investor, saying he's personally buying stock, using the theory that greed is good when everyone else is panicking.

And we're on the campaign trail, where Barack Obama and John McCain enter the final two full weeks of this extraordinarily long Presidential race. Three newspapers endorsed the junior Senator from Illinois today: The Washington Post, the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune. It's the first time the Trib has ever endorsed a Democratic nominee for President.

Also at 11, Tappy Phillips has the story of a hip hop recording artist who somehow owed a local businessman nearly $20,000, but never got around to paying. Until the business owner called Tappy and got 7 On Your Side.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER


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