Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, but that’s not the case with recreational marijuana, and this is often a cause of contention between the authorities and citizens in Florida. This was very evident on May 9 when a Florida man named Zavier Askew was pulled over in a traffic stop and a police officer found marijuana in the vehicle.
When the officer found marijuana, Askew tried to speed away. Instead of a chase ensuing right away, it turns out that Officer Sean Murphy was first dragged along with the vehicle for quite a distance.
Why Was Askew Stopped in the First Place?
According to the police, Askew was pulled over because he was missing his passenger window. The window has been taped up and when Murphy looked into the vehicle, he saw marijuana on the center console. This gave him cause to search the vehicle, even though Askew said there was nothing in the vehicle.
When the officer searched the inside of the vehicle, though, he found a bag of marijuana in the glove compartment after asking Askew to get out of the vehicle. Video from the body camera shows that Askew then ran back to the vehicle and hopped into the driver’s seat. Murphy followed in an attempt to stop Askew. However, Askew took off at a high rate of speed.
The top half of the cop’s body was inside the vehicle. He was using one arm to hold onto the vehicle and the other arm in an attempt to stop the suspect. Nothing Murphy was doing, including trying to bite Askew, was effective in stopping him. Speeds eventually reached up to 60 miles per hour in the vehicle, and the officer continued to hold on. If he hadn’t, it is likely that falling to the road would have caused some serious injuries.
Askew would not stop the vehicle and eventually turned onto a dead-end road. He was still going at a high speed and did not stop until he hit another vehicle. Murphy tucked his legs close to his body to avoid having them damaged as the vehicle struck the parked car. Askew was quickly arrested after the accident and is currently in the Orange County Jail awaiting trial in October.
It Could Have Been Worse
People get nervous and often do strange things when they are pulled over and they know they are going to be getting in trouble with the law. The fight or flight instinct starts to kick in, and for a time people believe they will be able to escape the police. Even if Askew were to have fled and got away that evening, it is certain that the police would have been able to apprehend him quickly. Still, people do not use common sense and they get to a point where they could do serious bodily injury to another person or even kill them.
Askew is fortunate that Murphy did not die and was not too injured during the incident. He was back on full duty before long. Now, Askew is going to be facing trial and even though the trial is not for months, it is safe to say that it is not likely to go well for him.
A little common sense would have gone a long way in preventing this near tragedy entirely. The reason that the driver was stopped in the first place was the broken and taped up window. Having marijuana that was clearly visible gave the cop a reason to search the vehicle. Fleeing and nearly killing a police officer made matters worse.