JASPER, Texas — Months after a 58-year-old Vidor woman was killed after a high-speed chase, her grieving family is wondering what deputies could have done to prevent the tragedy.
Laurie Beth Seehusen was an innocent bystander who got caught in the chaos on FM 1131 Road in Vidor. It was there that a high-speed chase came to an end, leading to the arrest of one person and the death of another.
The fatal incident took place on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Jasper County Sherriff’s deputies spotted Kade Davis in a stolen truck and attempted to perform a traffic stop.
Davis refused and led police on a chase through two counties. The chase ended in Orange County when Davis crashed into a car driven by Seehusen.
Both cars ended up in a ditch along the highway. Davis was taken to an area hospital and later arrested after the crash. Seehusen did not survive.
Members of Seehusen’s family want justice and said they are left wondering if their loved one would still be alive had deputies done things differently.
“I feel like this could have been avoided,” Chad Blackburn, Seehusen’s son, said. “I feel like that they could have laid spike strips down, they could have, you know, blocked off the road. They could have done something to apprehend him to avoid a casualty.”
Blackburn fully supports law enforcement and is thankful for their outreach in consoling his family. However, he said it does not take away from the fact that he and his siblings are left without their mother.
“I find myself trying to call her again because she is my road buddy,” Blackburn said. “Everything about her is going to be deeply missed, and it’s, I’m getting choked up talking about it, because I really miss her.”
Blackburn has been questioning his mother’s death for months.
“Why wasn’t there more communication between the counties when this was going on? Why? Why did it take a fatality to end it,” Blackburn said. “Why wasn’t something done? Why didn’t they block the road off? Why didn’t they put out strips to knock his tires out why so I mean, I would just like to have that question answered, the ‘why’ aspect of it.”
The family brought their questions to the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.
Lieutenant Investigator James Payne believes the deputy at the scene handled the situation accordingly. The deputy in pursuit began to back off a minute before the crash, Payne said.
When it comes to chases, the individual deputy has the final say, Payne said.
“When he felt that it was coming to a more dangerous situation, they just started backing off, and that’s all you can really ask an officer to do is make that determination,” Payne said. “It’s just it’s a shame it turned out that way.”
A study by the United States Department of Justice found that from 1996 to 2015, an average of 355 people were killed annually In pursuit-related crashes. A third of those deaths were innocent bystanders.
Written by Dominique Leh, Tiana Johnson (KBMT)