DALLAS/ AUSTIN/ FORT WORTH- A high-speed police chase through the city last month finally ended in the arrest of Michael Lawrence Brown, 46, a suspect wanted in connection with several robberies in the Dallas area. Brown was taken into custody near Love Field airport’s busy runways after an hour of police pursuit.
A gray Chevrolet pickup truck had been stolen at knifepoint from the Sheraton Hotel in Fort Worth. The pickup was spotted at an apartment complex in north Dallas around 2:30 in the afternoon on Thursday, August 19. Police said this information led to the chase that sped down the service roads of Central Expressway.
Brown ended up at Love Field after turning the pickup northbound, after fleeing through neighborhoods and the downtown area. With nowhere left to go, he quickly crashed through a security gate off Aviation Place and landed on the tarmac nearby several Southwest Airlines passenger jets, but Brown did not stop. He drove over active runway 31R before turning and driving up the taxiway. Brown was boxed in by four police cruisers and an unmarked police truck after crossing Runway 18, then he was forced onto the grass north of Runway 18 in between the taxiway and Runway 13L. The chase finally ended when an officer tried a pit maneuver to force the pickup truck into a spin.
The Dallas Police Department put the facts of this dramatic chase under review. The Department found that although the police had several opportunities to end the chase before Brown reached Love Field, the police chose not to use the pit maneuver because it was against the Department’s new chase policy. A Dallas police car nevertheless ended the chase with a pit maneuver by ramming the truck to force it to stop. The Department contends that this action was in response to “extenuating circumstances”.
The adequacy of Love Field’s defenses is also under scrutiny, amid concerns that other drivers would copy the maneuver, more out of dangerous mischief than running from the police. Officials declined to comment on possible changes or improvements to the airport’s design, because speaking publicly about a security program means the program is no longer secure.