Mother blames police pursuit law for death of daughter

Mar 31, 2023, 7:07 AM | Updated: 10:13 am

Schools threat police pursuit...

Police cars at Aki Kurose Middle School in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of SPD Blotter)

(Photo courtesy of SPD Blotter)

Amber Goldade, a resident of Tacoma, lost her 12-year-old daughter, Immaculee, after she was killed when struck by a man driving a stolen truck in January 2022. Goldade told legislators last month she blames the state’s police pursuit law for the death of her child, claiming if not for the current law, the man might have been detained the week before.

“Two weeks prior to the accident, the man and his accomplices were robbing a landscaping company that they ultimately stole the truck from,” Goldade said on The Jason Rantz Show. “They were followed by police, and the police had to let them go because they were in a stolen vehicle. If the man was able to be pursued and get caught, then he could have been in jail where he belonged because he was a convicted felon. He was already out of jail, and he missed a court date from a prior [offense].”

Bill for fewer restrictions on police pursuits passes in WA Senate

Earlier this month, a police pursuit bill set to loosen restrictions for chasing criminals narrowly passed in the Washington State Senate before the 5 p.m. deadline with a vote of 26-23 despite its companion bill, House Bill 1363, failing to advance beyond the House floor.

Tuesday, the House Committee on Community Safety passed the version of the bill that Goldade claims “is extremely weak and watered down.”

“We were hoping there would be a push for the bill to be restored to its original version, which would have, for example, saved the life of Immaculee,” former State Senator Simon Sefzik said in a joint interview alongside Goldade. “But even if this bill passes, it allows people to steal vehicles, and police are not allowed to pursue those types of crimes. And so the bill now moves on to the House floor where there may be some opportunity, and we expect there to be a fight on the House floor to restore the original version of the bill. But Jason, the weakened, gutted version of this bill is really quite unacceptable.”

Sefzik has been a vocal supporter of removing the state’s hyper-strict police pursuit laws, including writing an op-ed for the Cascadia Daily News stating many of these tragedies are preventable.

Sefzik is now the current policy advisor for Project 42, a non-profit organization that they say was created to change the course of Washington state and to “prioritize free markets, personal liberty, and an individual’s right to prosper.”

“I want to say, of course, that the original version will get passed, but quite frankly, my worry is that they’re going pass a gutted version of the bill and then go and virtue signal for the rest of the year that they did something that is not, in reality, very substantive,” Sefzik said.

Sefzik’s most significant concern for additional obstacles to getting the untampered version of the bill passed is if this becomes a left versus right ideological debate with both sides entrenched with their respective parties.

SPOG President: SPD is the ‘most accountable agency, bar none’

“This is no longer a debate about facts or about evidence. Unfortunately, it’s really coming down to a partisan issue from the left wing of the Democratic Party that is holding up any meaningful action on this,” Sefzik said. “My hope is just that Democratic legislators will listen to this because it is heartbreaking and angering when you have instances as we’ve seen, and it just keeps happening. It has to stop.”

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Mother blames police pursuit law for death of daughter