Police investigate fatal pursuit

Authorities are investigating a police chase late Monday in which a vehicle being pursued because it had no license plate slammed into another car, killing the driver of that car.

“We’re looking into it on our side to see if there were any policy violations,” said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge police spokesman.

The crash claimed the life of Elvin Dunn Jr., 37, who was ejected from his Lincoln Town Car and died near Fairfields Avenue and North 30th Street.

A 1997 Ford Crown Victoria being pursued by police struck Dunn’s vehicle while fleeing an officer about 11:40 p.m., McKneely said. Three unidentified men bailed out of the Crown Victoria and fled the scene, evading arrest.

Officers later found a cellphone inside the Crown Victoria that linked it to an armed robbery earlier Monday in the 6700 block of Blue Grass Drive.

However, the only violation known at the time the officer began the pursuit was a missing license plate, McKneely said.

McKneely said he didn’t know the speeds reached in the pursuit, but he said the officer was losing ground on the Crown Victoria because the police unit — unlike the suspect vehicle — adhered to traffic signs.

He also said he did not know where the chase began but that it was “in the immediate area” of the crash.

“It wasn’t all over the city, that’s for sure,” McKneely said of the pursuit. “It wasn’t even a five-minute ordeal.”

McKneely said the officer who pursued the Crown Victoria is not on leave, but investigators are conducting an internal review of the chase.

Police declined to release the department’s policy for vehicle pursuits, but McKneely said officers generally are required to consider the offense, time of day and whether “we feel (the pursuit) is safe for the community.”

“Obviously, this was 11:30 at night, and there’s not a lot of people out at that time,” he said.

Lt. Don Kelly said last year that attempting to arrest suspects fleeing in a vehicle “ranks among the most dangerous activities a law enforcement officer will ever engage in.”

Kelly said police take such situations “very seriously and have extensive policies and procedures in place, as well as an after-action review process of every pursuit.”

Dunn’s family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Authorities asked anyone with information about the suspects to call (225) 389-3845.