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Some NY residents question necessity of deadly police chase - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Some NY residents question necessity of deadly police chase

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RAY BROOK, N.Y. - New York State Police say they were justified in a high-speed chase that ended in a deadly crash in Ray Brook. They say Trevor Sisto put people's lives in danger and had to be stopped. But some North Country residents wonder if last week's deadly collision could have been avoided.

"You have to make judgments on things like that," said Joseph Szwed of Saranac Lake.

Residents like Szwed say the high-speed police chase of Trevor Sisto was unfortunate, but necessary.

"Given the circumstances of him hitting another police vehicle in the village, some driving erratically which would be putting people in danger anyways you try to pursue the individual. But I don't think it's the troopers' fault or the police fault," Szwed said.

The chase ended in a deadly crash in Ray Brook. An innocent couple in another car-- James and Kimberly Barney-- were hit and killed by Sisto as he fled police. And Kimberly's daughter, 11-year-old Emily Colby, was seriously injured in the wreck.

Some residents here wish police had handled the situation differently, adding that police pursuits should be a last resort.

"Set up some kind of a road block without having a high-speed chase," said Robert Gardner of Saranac Lake.

Police defend the actions taken by officers pursuing Sisto. They say Sisto was driving erratically before the chase even began and was a danger to other drivers and pedestrians and needed to be stopped.

"Based on the way our pursuit policy is written, the trooper, the communications specialist, the supervisors, all had a responsibility in that pursuit, were doing what regulations say they should have been doing," N.Y. State Police Maj. Richard Smith said.

Smith says details of the police pursuit were carefully reviewed.

"We had loss of life associated with the actions of our members who were in pursuit of Mr. Sisto's vehicle at the time of the accident. So yes, internal affairs did send out members of the internal affairs section to check on whether or not our division policies were followed," Smith said.

Police say right now Sisto faces felony charges of reckless driving and speeding, but more serious charges are likely to come.

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