A La Vergne officer’s dash cam was rolling the evening of April 4, as the officer pursued a stolen Cadillac.
The vehicle, taken at gunpoint in South Nashville, was traveling nearly 90 miles per hour, swerving around other cars to avoid capture, the officer said.
When the stolen Cadillac crashed, the dash cam video showed a 17-year-old passenger crawl out of a busted window, as the 19-year-old driver was removed from the vehicle and taken into custody.
The chase was just one of three in less than one week for the officer involved and all of the chases included at least one juvenile suspect, police said.
“We’re a small town with big city policing problems,” Sgt. John Eubank with the La Vergne Police Department explained. “If it’s a violent crime involving a stolen vehicle then we need to pursue it. If we don’t pursue it, then it’s somebody else’s robbery, somebody else’s homicide, someone else’s carjacking that we’re gonna end up dealing with.”
The police department has focused its efforts on catching stolen vehicles that enter the city limits and also those taken from within La Vergne.
The number of motor vehicles reported stolen in the city increased dramatically from 64 in 2014 to 135 in 2016, then appeared to decline over the following years, down to 82 in 2018.
Through May 7 of this year, La Vergne police said they have received reports of 21 stolen cars.
The number of vehicles reported stolen in La Vergne:
- 2014: 64
- 2015: 99
- 2016: 135
- 2017: 97
- 2018: 82
- 2019: 21 (as of May 7)
“I really sympathize with a lot of the victims of these car thefts and carjackings,” Sgt. Eubank said. “These are people that are just trying to go and get gas or doing whatever, being very productive citizens, and they’re being preyed upon.”
La Vergne police said contributing factors to the number of car thefts include the city’s close proximity to Nashville, as well as juvenile criminals getting a “slap on the wrist” and eventually committing more brazen crimes.
With the start of summer approaching, police said motor vehicle thefts, and other juvenile-related crimes, will likely experience an uptick.
“Just talking about it and pointing the fingers, it’s not getting anything done,” Sgt. Eubank explained. “We need to step up as a community and deal with it. We have to.”
To help combat the issue, the department said it has increased its presence in the areas that see the bulk of the vehicle crimes.
The City of La Vergne provides a crime mapping system to allow residents to track crime trends online.