12/03/07 — Gone in seconds: High-speed chase tragedy should make us all think

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Gone in seconds: High-speed chase tragedy should make us all think

It only takes a minute to destroy lives.

It takes a lethal mix of a multi-year offender with more than a half-dozen DWIs and a high-speed chase to bring him to justice.

And then tragedy.

No one could have predicted that Lyndsay Erin Lunsford, 18, and her sister, Maggie, 9, would be on the same road that day — or that theirs would be the car that Guy Ayscue would hit at about 90 miles per hour. No one could know he would swerve left of center to pass slower traffic to get away from pursuing police cars and take the lives of two innocent girls.

Yet, in an instant, the girls were gone. No skid marks. No way to avoid the collision.

It is tough to imagine what the Lunsford family must be going through right now — and understandable if they might be questioning whether catching Ayscue was worth the price paid.

And they are right to think that way.

There is reason to think about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of these young women. It makes you wonder if it is really worth it to chase an offender down a highway.

But that is only part of what should make you gasp when you read this story.

Please note that Ayscue had reason to run. He had about a half-dozen DWIs and a 20-year criminal record. He was 38.

The question is what was he doing on the road in the first place? And how does one not end up in jail if he or she has a half-dozen DWIs?

That suggests that even if they had caught him, Ayscue probably would be right back on the road.

Scary, isn’t it?

Something is wrong when that kind of offender is still roaming the streets.

Hindsight is always 20/20, so now, most people probably will say that the pursuit was not worth the price that was paid. It is easy to say that when you aren’t the one behind the wheel of the police car.

And, in this case, this man clearly was a danger.

But instead of focusing on the chase, let’s focus on the laws that put Ayscue back on the streets. Seems like tougher rules are in order.

Keeping slime like him off the road will save lives.

After that, we can work on determining the best rules for police chases. That way no family will have to spend another Christmas mourning a child.

Published in Editorials on December 3, 2007 10:39 AM