An Aberdeen city councilman questioned whether a high-speed vehicle chase through residential neighborhoods last week was worth the potential risk to the public.
Councilman Mark Remily said at Monday's council meeting that he received calls from constituents concerned about law enforcement officers pursuing a vehicle traveling at an estimated 80 to 90 miles per hour. The driver had been spotted driving recklessly at 11:39 p.m. on May 29 in the 200 block of Ninth Avenue Southwest. When an officer turned on his lights and sirens to stop the vehicle, the Dodge pickup sped off. Both the Aberdeen Police Department and Brown County Sheriff's Department pursued the vehicle.
The driver stopped his pickup after a 3- to 4-mile chase. He was arrested in a garage in the 600 block of North Lincoln Street, after fleeing on foot.
If the police could get close enough to see the license plate, why didn't they let the vehicle go and arrest the suspect afterward, Remily said. Was it worth it to chase a man for a DUI, he asked.
The vehicle chase disrupted the neighborhood.
"People were scared out there," Remily said.
Aberdeen Police Chief Don Lanpher, who was present at the council meeting, said that, at the time, officers attempted to stop the vehicle they did not know what crime the suspect may have committed. Officers were following policy to pursue drivers of vehicles, which would not stop after a police directive.
While the driver was traveling at high speed, it does not mean the police were traveling at 80 to 90 miles per hour in a residential area, he said.
"We would not do that," Lanpher said.
The driver of the vehicle, Chad A. Erickson, 30, was later charged with aggravated eluding, two hit-and-runs, reckless driving, entering or remaining in a building and his third DUI.
The other City Council members said they had not received complaints about the incident.
Lanpher said that law enforcement officers acted according to policy throughout the chase.
In other business the council:
- Approved the transfer of an inactive retail on-off sale malt beverage license with video lottery from Emerald Pub LLC, 23 Sixth Ave. S.W. to ASC Inc, 23 Sixth Ave. S.W.
- Approved a community event permit for Silver Dollar Bar Inc.'s Breast Cancer Charity Bike Run Show on June 15 with street closures on South Main Street from Second Avenue to First Avenue from 3 to 11 p.m.
- Approved rezoning land parcels.
- Waived the building permit fee for a Habitat for Humanity reconstruction project on Ward Drive.
- Reappointed Rolf Johnson to the Aberdeen Airport Board for a five-year term beginning June 30 and ending June 30, 2018.
- Awarded a mill and overlay bid to Lien Transportation for $296,237 and authorize the city manager and finance officer to sign the necessary documents after approval by the city attorney.