BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A South Mississippi man said he and his teenage son are grateful to be alive after a suspect fleeing from Biloxi police slammed into their vehicle. Now Sabree Rashid, of Gautier, is questioning whether the safety of the public is given top priority during high speed chases. Police said in this case the driver's recklessness and obvious disregard for public safety is what made the pursuit necessary.
Rashid said his vehicle is so badly damaged he's not sure it's drivable. His ordeal began Tuesday evening in Biloxi at the intersection of Kellar Avenue and Esters Boulevard.
"There was an F-150 traveling approximately 75 miles an hour waiting for me at that corner. I had no idea," Rashid said.
Rashid said he had only seconds to react.
"All I could do is pray and just hold on. Pray that me and my son made it through that. That lasted about three seconds. The longest three seconds of my life," said Rashid. "If I had not swerved he would have gotten me right where my son was who was a passenger. That would have been a tragic ending for one or both of us"
The man who led police on the chase was Kenneth Anderson, 28, who at the time was a fugitive for felony fraud.
Rashid said, "If it's a murderer or a rapist or a terrorist, you might say if that person gets away they've already killed, and they're going to kill some more people. The end might justify the means. This guy from my understanding was not a terrorist or a murderer or anything like that. He should not have fallen into that chase qualification."
Biloxi police said the chase was necessary because of how recklessly the suspect was driving.
"In this particular case the officer actually just passed the vehicle and observed the person in the vehicle," said Sgt. Jackie Rhodes. "The individual just assumed the policeman was going to chase him and took off driving in a reckless manner. The officer did turn around just to keep him in sight hopefully until he stopped somewhere."
"However, due to the recklessness of this individual the officer had no choice but to initiate a pursuit and we did that just prior to the accident happening," said Sgt. Rhodes.
Police said they put public safety first and their policy is to only pursue as a last resort.
"Contrary to popular belief and what you see on tv and stuff we're not real crazy about pursuits," Sgt. Rhodes said. "There's too many variables, but our training does tell us if we are involved in a pursuit at such time that a pursuit becomes too much of a hazard, too much of a danger we're going to terminate the pursuit."
Officers eventually caught Anderson when he got out of the truck and tried to run. Anderson now faces additional charges of felony eluding a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and fleeing the scene of an accident.