Every day, somewhere a dangerous driver puts the public at risk.
That risk is often accentuated when the dangerous driver is being chased by law enforcement.
Mike Breedlove is a lifetime law officer who knows all too well the perils of dangerous driving.
When a bad guy’s only choice is drive erratically or go to jail, they often choose to flee, putting other drivers at risk.
“Pretty much the bad guy, his whole job is to get away from the police,” explained Breedlove.
In a recent jailhouse interview with Norman Lance, a man who led multiple Mid-State law officers on a multi-county chase, told News 2 he ran because something told him he had to.
“I had it in my head if I get pulled over, it’s the end of the world,” he explained.
When News 2 reporter Andy Cordan told him he put hundreds of people in jeopardy, Lance responded, “I should have been in Nascar, you know.”
“My blood boiled. He thinks it’s a joke. Personally, I thought, ‘You idiot. The number of people you endangered, and you should drive for Nascar, no you need to be in jail,” Breedlove said.
Sheriff Breedlove said public safety was always a top concern during the chase, but so was the severity of the crime Lance was accused of.
“The call came out as an abduction,” the sheriff explained. “We could not stop the pursuit. Could’ve been where her body ended up in a ditch.”
In the nearly hour-long chase through Cheatham County and into Nashville, authorities said Lance drove erratically and dangerously with speeds over 100 mph on the interstate. He was also reportedly clocked doing over 70 mph down Nashville streets.
Breedlove said he was in constant contact with his supervisors during the hair-raising pursuit.
“They were giving us a play-by-play,” he explained. “Every second that went by I knew they were going into the downtown area and traffic was heavier. The longer it goes, it ups the chance of someone being killed. This is life and death decisions you have to make – not only for the public, but officers as well, but the public safety is primary.”
Breedlove told New 2 he remembers what it is like to be the young officer behind the wheel.
“As a young officer, it’s adrenaline pumping, exciting, scary as a senior law enforcement law officer, it’s probably the worst experience I’d want to go through because it’s life and death,” he said.
Now that Breedlove is sheriff in Cheatham County, high-speed chases are one of his top concerns.
“Any wrong move on the bad guy’s part could result in loss of life,” he said. “It scares me on so many levels. From the public safety point of view, from the officer’s point of view and the suspect’s, we don’t want the suspects getting hurt.”