The state Senate is considering a House-passed bill to strengthen penalties against suspects in police chases. “Valentine’s Law” would make it a Class D felony to recklessly flee from or detain law enforcement using a vehicle.

The sponsor, Rep. Justin Sparks, R-Wildwood, told Missourinet that it’s named after St. Louis County Police Detective Tony Valentine, who was killed in 2021 when a fleeing suspect crashed head-on into his patrol car.

“When a violent felon fled from police at a high rate of speed and rammed his vehicle into the vehicle Detective Valentine was driving, both Detective Valentine was killed that day as well as the suspect. While I was still in police work, working in law enforcement, I was there on scene,” he said.

Under the proposal, if anyone is injured during a vehicle chase it would rise to a Class B felony, and it would be a Class A felony if someone dies because of a car chase.

“This is very, obviously, personal to me because, not only have I, in my 15 years of law enforcement, watched and experienced and witnessed criminals fleeing from police at high rates of speed, putting themselves, police officers and members of the general public at risk of serious physical injury or death, but I’ve actually seen the collateral damage,” Sparks said.

Several attempted amendments failed from House Democrats, including one from Rep. LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, who wanted to hold police accountable for “unlawfully” pursuing a vehicle.

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