DeSoto authorities won’t release pursuit policy after woman killed in chase

BATESVILLE, Miss. — A Batesville family has a planned memorial service Wednesday night to honor a loved one killed during the course of a chase involving DeSoto County deputies, but a question remains: Why did deputies decide to pursue the suspect in the first place?

Almost a week after the crash that killed Lisa Gay, who was innocently caught in the chase, DeSoto County authorities aren't saying.

DeSoto County deputies say they tried to pull over two women driving a stolen car on Highway 78. When they wouldn’t stop, they started chasing. One of the women hit Gay’s car and kept going.

Gay died from her injuries.

"'You’re not gonna come through our county and get away with it.' That was the biggest part of it. 'Let's make a lesson out of them' at the cost of my mother," daughter Terria McMinn said.

WREG asked deputies about their policy for chasing a suspect, but no one would comment.

So we submitted a public records request to the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department, asking them to provide their chase policy for public safety and awareness.

Instead of answers for the family, we got a response denying our request on the grounds it would “result in the disclosure of sensitive investigatory techniques.”

It’s a stark contrast to another local agency; in an act of transparency, the Memphis Police Department released its chase policy after a similar incident in 2013.

They say an officer can only pursue if they know the fleeing suspects committed a violent felony.

And since DeSoto County officials won’t comment, we don’t know if that factored into what happened last week.

McMinn said she wants to remember her mom as a grandmother and professional nurse who made an impact.

“She cared about everybody. Always put herself last," she said.

But as the family prepares to say goodbye, they’re left with too many questions.

"I hope this will make the deputies reevaluate and I’m gonna see to it that I at least voice that to them,” McMinn said.  “They took everything away from my mother. They took everything.”