Police car crash
ID: MRC-01-0170
Format: SD

WS POV Police car crash / Lakeland, Florida, USA<br /><br />LAKELAND - For 21 minutes on a late Friday morning in October, Lakeland police chased a bank robbery suspect around the city at speeds up to 100 mph.,The 27-mile chase ended without serious injury, but had some unusual twists, according to a report by the department's Pursuit Review Board.,First, numerous officers were involved, possibly in violation of the department's pursuit policy that limits chases to officers authorized by the pursuit supervisor.,Second, the chase ended when an officer used a driving maneuver that Lakeland officers aren't trained to do. The review board report, written by Assistant Chief Bill LePere, described the tactic as "outside the norm.",Despite this, members of the review board recently voted unanimously that the chase complied with the department's pursuit policy. Chief Roger Boatner agreed with their finding.,HOW IT STARTED,Shortly after 11 a.m. Oct. 20, a man identified by police as John Olson, his face covered with a bandana, walked into the SunTrust Bank at 201 S. Florida Ave., brandished a gun and demanded money from a teller.,Carrying the cash, he left the bank on a bike, then pedaled a couple of blocks to meet his brother, Michael, who was waiting in a Ford pickup parked near Lake Morton. A witness saw Olson throw the bike in the back of the truck.,A few minutes later, Officer Virgil Cardin spotted the truck on nearby Sikes Boulevard and followed it briefly. The truck took off when Cardin attempted to pull it over on Olive Street.,Cardin was given the OK to pursue and Sgt. Randy Jones was his backup, the report said.,But Cardin and Jones and Officer Darryl Vachon, who joined them, fell behind in traffic. That's when Officers Jeff Barrett and Ted Sealey became the two patrol cars closest to the Olsons.,In his report, Cardin described the chase from beginning to end. He tells of the truck running through intersection after intersection at speeds up to 80 miles per hour. On George Jenkins Boulevard speeds were estimated at up to 90 mph, twice the posted speed limit.,The chase took officers as far south as the Polk Parkway near the airport, north to Gibsonia-Galloway Road, then the truck turned south on U.S. 98 "where he forced unsuspecting motorists to take evasive action," Cardin wrote.,On U.S. 98 near Lakeland Square mall, the truck did a U-turn and was headed north again, this time on the sidewalk and grass.,"It was in this area that the suspect intentionally drove his vehicle into the side of Officer Peterman's vehicle (a marked patrol car)," Cardin wrote. Officer Barrett then drove his patrol car into the side of the truck "bringing the dangerous fleeing suspects to a stop," according to Cardin's report.,The Olsons' truck flipped over on its side and skidded into a Ford Focus carrying two Kathleen High students, who escaped injury.,The Olson brothers were arrested and taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.,John Olson, now 30, was charged with five counts of fraud, two counts of robbery and one count each of armed robbery, attempted robbery and a traffic violation, according to Polk County Jail records.,Michael Olson, 23, was charged with two counts of robbery and one count each of attempted robbery, armed robbery, fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, jail records show.,Both are in the Polk County Jail.,"MASSIVE INVOLVEMENT'',The pursuit went beyond Cardin, Jones, Vachon, Sealey and Barrett, all of whom had permission to pursue. The review board report said police car video tapes and radio transmissions during the pursuit showed "a wide range of officers involved in this incident, including unmarked police cars, motorcycles and plain-clothes officers