Bodycam footage has captured the incredible moment a suspect hugged the chief of police after a frantic car chase spanning two Kentucky counties.
The police, with guns drawn, surrounded a vehicle on Feb. 10 after the driver pulled over in a Hodgenville parking lot.
It was later revealed that the suspect, 41-year-old Latrece Curry of Lebanon County, had fled from an alleged domestic dispute she’d had with her husband and left home amid a brewing ice storm before law enforcement arrived, reported The New York Post. When pursued by police, Curry sped away.
The Hodgenville Police Department praised Chief James Richardson for his receptivity, posting on Facebook, “A great example of keeping your emotions in check at the end of a pursuit.”
When Curry eventually pulled over to avoid a roadblock, several officers surrounded her vehicle and approached on foot with guns raised.
Bodycam footage shows Richardson approaching the driver’s door with his firearm pointing at Curry through the car window, instructing Curry to open the door, then leaning in to open it himself.
At that moment, the tone shifts.
“[S]he had her hands up, she was shaking like a leaf,” Richardson told the New York Post. “I mean the poor girl, when I opened the door it was like a look of sheer terror. She was scared to death.”
Richardson placed his gun in his holster and dropped to his haunches, reassuring the suspect.
“I just tried to calm her down,” Richardson recalled. “She was shaking so bad she couldn’t get her seatbelt off, so I helped her get her seatbelt off.”
As Curry wasn’t carrying a weapon and was deemed to be non-threatening, the police chief took her hands in his. She started to cry.
“She reached out and hugged me and I just kind of hugged her back,” Richardson told the New York Post.
The police chief said it was the first time a pursuit had ended in a hug from the suspect in his 23 years on the job, according to the report.
Richardson said Curry told him in her statement that she was “just in the zone” and was “extremely sorry.”
“She had no criminal record to speak of, had never been in trouble that I know of,” the police chief told the outlet. “She just made a really bad choice.”
Curry surrendered peacefully. She was charged with fleeing police, endangerment, and traffic violations, the report said.
“Compassion is a good thing to have, especially in policing,” Richardson told the New York Post. “With everything going on in the world today, everybody makes mistakes.”
Hundreds of social media users left comments on Facebook in response to the department’s announcement.
“Oh my God. I can’t stop crying. Thank you, Chief Richardson,” wrote one person. “The process of thought and compassion is and was wonderful to see. I hope the judge cuts her some slack.”
“What a beautiful ending,” wrote another. “While she was still held accountable for her actions, as she should have been, compassion was shown and she was not a threat; she was in a bad headspace. Great job to everyone involved!”
(Courtesy of Hodgenville Police Department)