Flee and Eluding Bill in Florida Legislature

Video taken from inside a Tallahassee police car shows an officer chasing a pair of suspected bank robbers last summer.

Running from the law and putting innocent bystanders at risk could soon bring stiffer penalties in Florida.

Rep. Pat Patterson is pushing to make fleeing and eluding a felony, instead of a misdemeanor, and House bill 295 demands at least three years in prison if anyone is injured in the process.

"After talking to our local sheriff, he brought to my attention we had this problem not only in our county, but throughout the state of people running from law enforcement the minute they turned their lights on. Since I filed that bill we've had two people killed, one in Volusia County and one in Flagler County,” Patterson explains.

Tallahassee Police SGT James Fairfield says folks flee from him two or three times a month.

"It is truly a reckless endangerment of the community to blow through red lights and stop signs without any regard for the community's safety. Any enhanced punishments that come to someone who demonstrates that activity, law enforcement is going to support,” SGT Fairfield says.

So those who run from the law have more to worry about than stop sticks. They could soon be staring down a felony record.

In Florida, there have been several instances of crooks placing blue lights in their cars. So the bill includes some safeguards for motorists who want to be sure the police car following them is legitimate.

It allows them to wait and pull over in well-lit, populated areas. That bill is on its final reading in the Florida House.