The tragic death of a 32-year-old Long Beach man and his dog in May puts the spotlight squarely on the dangers faced by pedestrians as well as the need for law enforcement to limit high-speed chases when pursuing criminal suspects.
Jose Hernandez was walking his dog in the crosswalk near downtown Long Beach when he was killed on May 26 just after 11:10 p.m. A burglary suspect driving an SUV at a high rate of speed allegedly ran a red light and struck Hernandez and his dog. The driver — pursued by police — crashed the vehicle a few blocks later before his arrest. Hernandez and his dog died at the scene.
The arrest proves little to no solace for Hernandez’s family. He was on a routine dog-walk when his life ended. In this situation, there was little that he could have done to avoid this accident due to a driver allegedly impaired by drugs while fleeing police.
Time and time again, safety-conscious authorities inform pedestrians to be aware of any hazards while walking during the day and night. Walk in well-lit areas, be visible to drivers, use the crosswalk and follow traffic signals are just some of the guidelines for pedestrians. The recent victim followed all these rules, but his life still ended.
In this tragic case, the action of police likely played a role, too. Nationwide, an increasing number of U.S. cities have lobbied for law enforcement officers to minimize or ban high-speed traffic pursuits with fleeing suspects. Why? Because they pose extreme danger to the public just as what happened earlier this year in Long Beach.