SALT LAKE CITY — Roughly one month after his wife passed away from a devastating car crash involving a suspected DUI driver being chased by police, a local man is seeking changes surrounding law enforcement pursuits and administrative policy.
Tripp Mims lost his wife Thy Vu Mims after a driver led a North Salt Lake Police officer onto I-15 and into a residential Rose Park neighborhood.
“This crash happened at over 75 miles per hour in a 30 mile an hour zone in a neighborhood. The officer was also traveling that same speed,” said Mims. “I can’t say whether policy was broken directly — I get the feeling that it was, but if it wasn’t, obviously it’s not strict enough.”
Mims and his son visited with legislators last week before the special session to share research and discuss the need for uniform policy surrounding police pursuits.
“Ultimately, there should be a policy in place for all of Utah around high-speed pursuits. At what point is it too dangerous?” said Mims. “Thy wasn’t a stat. She’s not a number. Unfortunately, she’s included in this group that I’m talking about, and without proper policy, families are ripped apart violently.”
A group of senators listened to Mims as he shared his thoughts on the need for reform following the sudden death of his wife on October 16.
“There are protocols in place that should have prevented this, but they are not as stringent as they could possibly be,” said Senator Kathleen Riebe, who serves on the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee. “I definitely think this can move forward — I think there’s a lot of interest on the Democratic side, I think there will be some interest on the Republican side. Every legislature wants to make good policies, and it seems like these policies wouldn’t be too far-reaching if we tried to change them a little bit.”
Policies regarding pursuit procedure and practice vary by law enforcement agency. As of mid-November, no bills have been drafted regarding law enforcement pursuit policy changes. However, Mims is prepared to fight for change for the long haul.
“Thy fought for justice, and so what am I supposed to do? I have to, you know, aside from taking care of my family, it’s my life’s mission right now,” he said.