LUBBOCK, TX - On Thursday EverythingLubbock.com published a portion of the video from a high-speed chase that happened on March 29. The chase ended with an officer colliding his police unit into the suspect’s car.
Also on Thursday, EverythingLubbock.com asked questions of the Lubbock Police Department concerning the chase. In response, EverythingLubbock.com learned that an officer was placed on paid administrative leave.
Police identified the officer as Christopher M. Hennsley. His police video identified him as Michael C. Hennsley.
On Friday morning, LPD issued this brief statement.
“The pursuit on March 29th, 2017 that ended in a collision at the corner of 55th Street and Avenue D is currently the subject of an Internal Affairs Investigation. As part of that investigation, it will be determined if the officers’ actions are consistent with the Lubbock Police Department policy.
The pursuing officer has been placed on administrative leave, but this is not indicative of any wrong doing. No disciplinary action has been taken pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Hennsley’s police report said he noticed an olive-green car that matched the description from a burglary the day before. As officer Hennsley initiated a stop at the 6500 block of the I-27 access road, the driver – later identified as Alize Castilleja, 18 – sped away.
The chase at one point was 95 miles per hour along Avenue A. It was up to 67 miles per hour in a residential area of Avenue D.
The officer’s report said the risk of the pursuit was minimal.
“There was very little vehicle traffic and I did not observe any pedestrian traffic. Due to this being a school day and during school hours, the risk of small kids playing outside was minimal. The streets were not congested with parked vehicles and I had a clear field of view while in the residential areas. I felt the need to capture the possibly armed felony suspect outweighed the minimal risks that were present at that time.”
In that same report, officer Hennsley wrote later that he did not know during the pursuit that there were small children in the car. He said he learned of the children after the chase ended.
“We learned there were two small infants in the back seat of the suspect’s car,” he wrote. “[The children] were in car seats, but the car seats were not buckled in nor secured.”
The children were not injured, according to the police report.
Toward the end of the chase, Castilleja’s car spun out. Then the car was moving slowly backward onto someone’s yard.
Officer Hennsley described why he collided with Castilleja’s car.
“I attempted to stop but began to slide, as I approached the front of the suspect vehicle. My two options were to slide straight and possibly strike the fence of the house or cut my wheel and cause a low speed collision with the suspect vehicle.”
LPD policy says, “Officers may terminate pursuits by abandoning them or forcibly stopping suspect vehicles when authorized by a supervisor.”
The audio from the officer’s dashcam is not always clear, and it is not entirely clear from the audio if a supervisor approved a collision.
Castilleja was able to post bond Thursday to get out of jail. Among his charges were evading police in a motor vehicle.
Use the video link to see the dash-cam video of the chase.
Related Story: Police Video Shows Crash to Stop High-Speed Chase
Correction: We reported that a gun from the burglary was found in the vehicle. That was in error. A gun magazine was found but not a gun. It is not known at this time if the magazine was related to the burglary.
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