Reality, emotions clash over video

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Times-Gazette posted a video earlier this week showing a high-speed chase across the county early Saturday morning that ended with one young man dead and one injured.

Our sympathy goes out to the family of the man who lost his life.

When searching for a "why" in a sudden, unexpected death, raw feelings sometimes take over.

Criticism, driven by emotions over the sudden loss of a loved one, has been aimed at law enforcement and the T-G.

A quote from Bedford County chief deputy David Williams Jr. in Tuesday's T-G story about the pursuit appropriately summed up situations law enforcement and this newspaper often face: "Damned if you do and damned if you don't."

The T-G has received a lot of heat on its Facebook page for posting the video. But we stand behind our decision to make the video available to the public.

(The video was later removed from the website and the T-G's Facebook page, after a request to the editor by Sheriff Randall Boyce due to serious threats made to a law enforcement officer).

Decisions on news coverage are made with careful thought and consideration toward the community.

We agree such a video is hard to watch, especially for friends and family members close to the man who died. We've been asked to put ourselves in the shoes of these family members. Quite simply, that is something we always try to do before making decisions -- decisions that are well-thought out and certainly not taken lightly. And we, too, grieve for the family.

However, eliminating videos and/or stories some find unpleasant does not make reality disappear.

We do not decide the news, but rather, we do our best to report it. We strive to hold a mirror up to our community that reflects what's truly happening, even if what we see is not pretty.

In this case, the lives of innocent people were threatened and many were awakened by sirens early Saturday morning. People want to know the facts. Our job is to supply them.

Consider the many young drivers in Bedford County who are given a set of keys at age 16. Over the last few years, far too many young lives have been lost in tragic automobile accidents. Young adults need to understand the consequences of their actions.

There is no telling how many lives could have been lost in Saturday morning's tragic incident.

We sincerely hope this video solicits careful thought among parents, teachers, children and others who get behind the wheel of any vehicle.

Questions remain. Could anything have been done to stop this pursuit before it resulted in a fatality? Should officers be equipped with items such as spike strips to stop a fleeing vehicle before things get out of hand?

We'd like to think the video will lead to discussions that could help answer some of these questions and ultimately save lives.

View 16 comments
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  • Every word just spoken was very true. The parents of this young man have to be wonderful people. They immediately started thinking of others. We live in a world of social media. I have teens that will make mistakes. I also have law enforcement members in my family. They choose to risk their lives everyday. Many people could have been hurt. They have families as well. God Bless the whole situation.

    -- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 9:08 AM
  • I believe the law enforcement was doing the job they are paid to do. There is always a reaction to every action and young people have to realize they can't break the law and nothing happen. I do think the video would be terribly hard for the family to watch but it becomes public record when you put tax payer dollars into cameras for police cars. The cameras are there to protect both sides. I probably would not have posted it but if it was asked to be seen shown it. I do thank the police depts. for doing their jobs and trying to keep the streets I drive on safe. I pray for the family who lost a life and for the other person who was innocent and hurt. You must accept responsibility for your actions good and bad.

    -- Posted by Thatsmystory on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 10:01 AM
  • My concern about the tape is why was it released to everyone to see after he died? I think that is why everyone is so mad and disgusted with our police and newspaper! This family is suffering a tragic loss! Shouldn't there be some respect for the grieving family? Did they ask for permission to release the video not only to the newspaper website but also to YouTube? What was the point of putting it on YouTube to make a $ from someone losing their life? It's absolutely awful how they did his family. How would you like it If someone in your family passed away and they had it all on video and released for everyone in the world to see, would you not be mad or upset? I understand you have to have a video for the cops and law inforcement for their information and to make sure they did nothing wrong. However I do not agree with them sayin he didn't have tail lights or brake lights because in the video it clearly showed that he did have lights! This family is going through a lot and the fact that the video was released as made a lot of people to lose respect for the newspaper and law inforcement. I really wish things were different with the whole situation because then we wouldn't be having this discussion, but the fact of the matter is his life was tragically taken and y'all used the video as not only entertainment but also it was a painful reminder that he not only hurt an innocent person but also you can see how he died. People needs closure for every death, but that's not the right way. The picture of where he hit the gate and where the other car hit the ulity pole was a lot more respectful because it didn't show the people or the automobiles. My thoughts and prayers are with both of the families and friends of the two men involved! This is a painful reminder that speeding while driving is dangerous but so is texting while driving but you don't see videos of everyone in town that's texting while driving and a police is stopping them on video! Every situation has a lesson that needs to be taught. I'm sorry that Jay's life was taken in such a tragic matter, that doesn't mean he desered to be taken away from people who loved him. I think the police could've done something different to prevent it to get as far as it did.. Also I can't wrap my head around the fact that the chase only lasted for 30 minutes. I hope this family and his friends get a little bit of respect and privacy during their time that they need it the most! R.I.P Jay!

    -- Posted by *Single MOM of 2* on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 11:17 AM
  • I'm still at a loss as to why this video was put on the website? There's no doubt that mistakes were made and no one will ever understand his choices, and it can't be changed. All this did was magnify the pain and hurt for the family, no matter what side you're on you wouldn't want a video of your child's fatal accident on the website. This didn't accomplish anything, he paid the price. I've yet to see anything mentioned about him donating his organs. He did a very selfless thing that most adults don't think to do, let the family grieve and pay your respects. All life had value.

    -- Posted by BrookeS on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 11:38 AM
  • Threats against an officer over a video? It's seriously sad that there is such trash in the world.

    I see know problem with the video being placed on the website or any other media outlet. The family is probably not going to be scouring newspaper sites anyway. At least, not at this time.

    The video exactly what one would expect from a police chase and an impact from running a stopping during that chase. There were no body parts and no bodies.

    Quite frankly, this man is dead due to his own actions. No one 'took' his life away from him. No one with a working brain, runs from police for speeding, unless of course, they are guilty of something and are trying to hide it. Law enforcement did it's job.

    -- Posted by malamutemom on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 12:25 PM
  • Thank you, Times Gazette, for showing the public what happened. I do hate that a small number of rednecks made such a nasty stink on a public forum.

    -- Posted by malamutemom on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 12:27 PM
  • Sorry about the typos. Should have proofed.

    -- Posted by malamutemom on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 12:35 PM
  • Everyday Police officers put their lives on the line to protect the people of the community. These men and women work long hours,in numerous adverse environments, often sacrificing time away from family and friends to do a job they love. These men and women must make split second decisions in stressful situations.

    It is extremely sad that in today's society it is often the innocent ones who are blamed for the actions of others. The SAME ONES complaining about the actions of the Officer are the SAME ONES that would complain if this officer let the person go, and that person speed away and killed someone else with his reckless driving.

    Innocent people do not RUN from the Police. Is the lost of this persons life a tragedy? YES absolutely! HOWEVER this person is at FAULT for his actions. If he had not run from the Police there would never have been a chase. It is THAT simple.

    Furthermore, you do not make MONEY on a video submitted to youtube.

    -- Posted by Mommymafia on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 1:42 PM
  • Let me be the first to apologize to the Shelbyville Times Gazette for posting a comment stating that I was disappointed in them for posting the video. I saw it and immediately reacted when I shouldn't have. It got the best of me because I have known this family most of my life and as a parent my heart aches for them. It took my 20 year old daughter to make me realize that if it had been any other person or someone from some other county - I would not have given it a second thought. I deleted my comment just a few hours after I posted it - due to being ashamed of myself for posting to begin with.

    I cannot believe that someone would stoop so low to threaten any memeber of our law enforcement officers. They are out there 24/7 protecting us and the same person or persons that threatened them would be real quick to call on these officers when they need them. The officers should be equipped with spike strips to prevent things like this that might arise again.

    There is never a need for name calling and the profanity that a lot of the comments were laced with. People we should be grown ups and be able to control our words. We can all disagree without the nasty talk. Have respect for yourself and others that might see your posts.

    -- Posted by GODmadeusALL on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 3:29 PM
  • i would like to say that jay was a GREAT person! he was a brother a son and a best friend to so many so yes those of us who did know jay bird and held him close robour hearts we were upset about the video but we are def. not trash nor redneck! noone has bothered to say that jay was a very hard worker and loved like no other and he also was an Organ donor an has saved not one but TWO Lives since he has passed so before you try to say anything bad about him or his friends an family think about what he could of been to everyone else!! im proud of you jay bird!! you sore high! you will always be our small town hero!! rest easy love!!

    -- Posted by mammab on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 5:51 PM
  • "It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of people instead of things."

    -Lawerence G. Lovasik

    Shame on you for speaking badly about Jay when he is no longer with us! Especially if you didn't even know him. I am truly blessed to have been able to be a part of his life while he was here and I'll forever love him for everything he's done for me. He was very loving and caring and always did whatever he could to help anyone who needed him. You should be ashamed of yourselves for the name calling and harsh words toward Jay, his family, and his friends. Especially when you hide behind a fake name. I pray that you never experience what we are going through at this time. God bless you all and may he have mercy on you.

    -- Posted by Holly Slaughter on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 6:41 PM
  • I mentioned in my comment that he was a donor. It seems like everyone is so quick to run him down instead of taking a step back and looking at the whole incident.

    -- Posted by BrookeS on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 6:59 PM
  • And also I forgot to mention something to those of you calling us rednecks...Us "rednecks" are some of the most hard working people you'll ever have the opportunity to meet. We do everything to lend a helping hand, we'll give you the shirt off our back, and the food off our plate. So thank you for calling us "rednecks". I take that as a compliment :)

    -- Posted by Holly Slaughter on Wed, May 22, 2013, at 8:42 PM
  • I think posting the video does more good than harm because it vividly illustrates what happens when you break the law and make bad choices. If other people see the consequences in a real life setting and how tragic those consequences can be, maybe it would persuade other individuals to not make the same mistakes and could save the life of countless others. I feel sorry for the family and can not imagine their loss but if it was me, I would want something meaningful to come out of this senseless tragedy.

    Also, I can not understand why anyone would threaten an police officer for doing his job. Officers risk their lives each and every day to make sure that we live in safe environment. They have families also and they definitely do not get paid enough for the service they provide.

    -- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, May 24, 2013, at 8:31 PM
  • My deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of the young child that was killed Monday! But the hypocrisy of the times gazette is amazing! I assume that it's only your obligation to report the "news" if there's no connection to the victim?? Well guess what? The 22 yr old boy that was killed during the high speed chase was someone's SON TOO!!

    -- Posted by Monica Stevens on Tue, May 28, 2013, at 10:07 AM
  • Monica . . . your comment really makes no sense.

    -- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, May 28, 2013, at 3:19 PM
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