Legislature reviews penalties for fleeing police

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The Vermont State Police is urging the Legislature to toughen the law that governs police chases. Lieutenant Walter Goodell told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that under current law, even chases that exceed 100 miles per hour can only be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. The Judiciary Committee is considering legislation to make fleeing a police officer a felony.

Goodell showed lawmakers a videotape of a chase from last fall on Interstate 91 in which a man fleeing police hit speeds greater than 100 miles per hour while weaving in and out of traffic. The new legislation was sparked in part by the death last June of state police Sergeant Michael Johnson who was hit by a man fleeing police.

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