Apr 6, 2022 - News

Westview residents raise concerns over police chase PIT maneuver in neighborhood

 Illustration showing a PIT maneuver between a blue police car and yellow civilian car.

A Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) maneuver calls for a police car chasing a fleeing vehicle to match its speed, and then bump and gently steer into the vehicle’s rear quarter panel. This forces the fleeing vehicle to spin out and come to a stop. Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Westview residents are concerned after police performed a PIT maneuver in a residential area to stop a fleeing vehicle with a 9-year-old child inside.

Driving the news: A Georgia State Patrol trooper performed the technique Monday morning to end the pursuit of a man accused of stealing the car from nearby West End.

Why it matters: While PIT maneuvers can be effective, “they can be dangerous if not done properly,” says Dean Dabney, a criminology professor at Georgia State University.

Catch up quick: After the vehicle was reported stolen, Atlanta and Fulton County police and state troopers searched for and found the car nearby. Officers attempted a traffic stop, but the driver fled, police say.

  • A state trooper performed a low-speed PIT maneuver to end the pursuit, GSP tells Axios.
  • The 9-year-old who was in the car during the chase was transported to an area hospital as a precaution, Atlanta police said in a statement.

What they’re saying: Jason Hudgins, former president of the Westview Community Organization, tells Axios that he understands Monday’s action was an “extenuating circumstance” because a child was kidnapped, but it’s concerning to see state troopers perform PIT maneuvers in residential areas.

  • “We’re really sensitive in Westview to chases happening in our community,” he said.
  • During a 2016 chase, a stolen vehicle crashed into a car in Westview, killing a grandmother and two children.
  • Last year, a vehicle ended up on the front lawn of a Westview home after a PIT maneuver was used to stop a chase, Hudgins said.

Of note: In January 2020, Atlanta police enacted a zero-chase policy after a series of deadly collisions involving stolen cars.

  • Parts of that policy were changed last year to allow police to pursue vehicles with a supervisor’s OK if they know a suspect has committed certain felonies or that their escape poses a danger to the public.

Hudgins says he wants the Georgia State Patrol to abide by no-chase policies that are enacted by local departments if they are operating in their jurisdictions.

  • “We have a policing agency that’s not really accountable to us at the local level making decisions that could impact this neighborhood very deeply,” he said.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Atlanta stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more