Forest Acres police sergeant violated internal policies while chasing mother accused of shoplifting

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The Forest Acres Police Department said in a statement posted to social media Friday, the pursuing officer involved in chasing an accused shoplifter violated internal policies.

Sgt. David Pickett was suspended on Feb. 14 after he chased 37-year-old Ashley Baker, who was later charged to stealing from two businesses off Trenholm Road, the statement said.

The high-speed chase ended when Baker’s car flipped into the front yard of a home in the area of Longsford Road and Trenholm Road. Four children and Baker were transported to a local hospital for treatment after the crash.

Baker, from Columbia, was spotted by two Forest Acres Police Department officers in Trenholm Plaza. According to video evidence, Baker backed out between two patrol cars and “is seen nearly striking a FAPD vehicle as she drives away in an attempt to evade police,” the statement from FAPD said.

She then sped down Trenholm Road Boulevard while Sgt. Pickett chased after her, according to dashcam video obtained by WIS News 10 through a records request.

Baker had four children in her car between ages 2 and 13 during the alleged shoplifting spree and chase, the police said. The stolen merchandise totaled to $829, the initial incident report said.

Speeds reached more than 70 mph in a 40 mph zone in the area of Trenholm Road, according to the police department.

Twice in the video, Sgt. Pickett is seen jumping in front of Baker on the road to try and make an attempt to stop her.

According to the initial incident report WIS News 10 received, the woman’s “aggressive driving” caused her to hit a Forest Acres police department vehicle. The dash cam video shows Sgt. Pickett move into the right lane where Baker is located.

“She just hit me, she just flipped,” he said over the radio, according to the dash cam video.

The initial incident report also said it was not until after the crash officers saw four children exit the vehicle. The video shows dispatch warning Sgt. Pickett there were juveniles in the car during the chase.

At least two internal policies were violated, according to the statement from FAPD. Jumping in front of a vehicle during a chase is a violation of their internal policy. It’s also against the department’s internal policy to chase for a non-violent offense.

Forest Acres Police Department’s chase policy restricts several actions during chases and says that once “the identity of the offender is determined, and it is reasonable to believe that failure to immediately apprehend the offender shall pose no serious threat to the community.”

It’s unclear if any other internal policies were violated during the Feb. 13 chase.

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