‘PIT’ move nets arrest

Published 9:43 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WILLIAMSTON – Highway Patrol officers had to use a “PIT” maneuver to end a high-speed chase that began in Bertie County and ended in Martin County.

James Laylon Turner III, 21, of Garner was arrested and charged with felony flee to elude arrest. He made his first appearance on Sept. 3 in Bertie County District Court.

North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers C.W. Goodwin and A.S. Genao were working US 13 north of Windsor on Aug. 29 at which time a vehicle was clocked at a speed of 70 mph. When Godwin attempted to perform a vehicle stop, Turner fled.

NCHP Troop A/District II First Sgt. Mike Warren said the ensuing chase, also involving Trooper Genao, wound up on US 13 South.

“As the suspect vehicle was en route towards Williamston, his vehicle sideswiped two other vehicles as he weaved in and out of traffic,” Warren said. “It was decided at that point that we needed to use a PIT maneuver, when it was safe to do so, in order to stop the fleeing vehicle before a serious accident could take place.”

PIT – short for Precision Immobilization Technique – begins when the pursuing vehicle pulls alongside the fleeing vehicle so that the portion of the pursuer’s vehicle forward of the front wheels is aligned with the portion of the target vehicle behind the back wheels. The pursuer gently makes contact with the target’s side, then steers sharply into the target. The police officer must also accelerate or his bumper will slide off of the suspect vehicle. As soon as the fleeing vehicle’s rear tires lose traction and start to skid, the pursuer continues to turn in the same direction until clear of the target. This is more of a committed lane change than an actual turn. The target will turn in the opposite direction, in front of the pursuer, and will spin out.

Typically, another police car will tail the PIT unit to proceed with the arrest, while the PIT unit recovers its own control and completely stops the car. The PIT does not immobilize the suspect vehicle and to prevent further flight, two police cars need to pin the suspect between them, front and rear.

Upon entering Martin County, Goodwin seized the opportunity at the first traffic signal (Park Street) and used the PIT maneuver to perfection, allowing Genao to quickly make the arrest.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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