Vehicle pursuits under Operation Lone Star have a higher rate of death than most high-speed pursuits, according to researchers at Human Rights Watch.
According to the 77-page report, “So Much Blood on the Ground’: Dangerous and Deadly Vehicle Pursuits under Texas’ Operation Lone Star,” dangerous chases of vehicles thought to contain migrants under the Texas government’s Operation Lone Star program led to crashes that killed at least 74 people in a 29-month period.
Human Rights Watch reported that Operation Lone Star puts undue pressure on law enforcement to chase cars, sometimes with very little basis, resulting in deaths of drivers, passengers, and even bystanders.
Within the year before the initiative began, El Paso county saw 49 vehicle pursuits by state troopers.
Just over two years since its launch, there were 175 vehicle pursuits recorded in El Paso county.
Human Rights Watch found that 81% of the vehicle pursuits in Operation Lone Star counties were initiated because of a traffic violation.
97% of those violations were misdemeanors such as speeding or not obeying traffic signals.
Human Rights Watch found that the average maximum speed during the chases was 91 miles per hour, with a third involving speeds over 100 miles per hour.
Property damage from vehicle pursuits has also increased in Operation Lone Star counties. Average losses from chases were at around $73,000 per month before March 1, 2021, with losses rising to over $177,000 since that date, an increase of 142 percent.