High-Speed Police Chases Rise Near Texas Border, Leaving Locals on Edge

Jairo Lerma and several of his relatives placed a wooden cross in the dry grass along a Texas highway where his parents, on their way from Georgia to Mexico, died suddenly in a fiery crash with an oncoming car that was carrying migrants and fleeing a sheriff’s deputy.

Shortly before the crash on Nov. 8, his mother, Isabel, had texted to say that she and her husband, José Carlos, a retired carpet factory worker from Dalton, Ga., would soon be at the border. Instead they died near a bend in the road some 60 miles short, along with five migrants and the 21-year-old driver of the other car.

“I blame the sheriff’s department because they were chasing at a really high speed in a location that was really dangerous,” Mr. Lerma said. “This could have been avoided.”

In recent years, police departments across the United States have been reassessing when and how to pursue fleeing suspects, adopting policies to curtail the number of dangerous high-speed chases.

But in Texas, the state police and sheriff’s offices have been notable exceptions, policing experts said, retaining broad discretion to give chase whenever their officers deem it appropriate. The approach differs even from big city departments in the state, such as in Houston, where the police recently

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