back to article Google Street View car careens into creek after 100mph cop chase

Ever wondered why Google Maps Street View images can have such poor quality sometimes? A police incident in the US state of Indiana on Monday may offer an answer. According to Middletown Police Department, a small vehicle was observed passing several others heading westbound on US Route 36 outside Shenandoah High School. The …

  1. Solviva

    "The officer present, Chief Landon J Dean, dutifully began pursuit – the speed limit on interstate highways is 70mph, 15mph in a school zone – and said he was able to identify the vehicle as a Google Maps car by virtue of the 360-degree cameras mounted on the roof."

    I call BS. It could have been any of several companies who do this, the fact it has a camera on the roof doesn't identify it as Google or anybody else. The text on the rear of the vehicle, however, gives the game away.

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      i guess he thought it most likely a google car as it sped past & he likely couldn't read the bumper writing, later confirmed when it ended in the ditch.

      1. Solviva

        Jumping to conclusions. If he was honest he would have suspected it being a Google car (good chance it was), and 'confirmed' it by the writing on the vehicle (although how hard is it for somebody to get Google Street View printed and stick it on their car) but simply seeing the camera is no confirmation.

        I knew the suspect was reaching for a weapon in his pocket so I shot him. Turns out suspect had an itch just there and no weapon.

        Point being, seeing a streetview style camera on car is not a guarantee that it is indeed a Google vehicle, or vehicle operating on behalf of Google. To say that's how you concluded it was Google is blatantly false.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Since whether or not the car was Google's had absolutely nothing to do with his decision to pursue it I don't understand why you are so exercised over that trivial detail.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Happy

            > Since whether or not the car was Google's had absolutely nothing to do with his decision to pursue it I don't understand why you are so exercised over that trivial detail.

            <tearful>

            LEAVE GOOGLE ALONE!!!

            </tearful>

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      he was able to identify the vehicle as a Google Maps car by virtue of the 360-degree cameras mounted on the roof."

      I call BS.

      So what? If it was speeding he was right to pursue it, no matter whose vehicle it was.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      What would wind forces do to a roof-mounted camera at 100mph? More BS?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The same as they do to my roof box - I. E. Nothing if its properly secured. 100mph is a strong wind but has been within humans ability to engineer against for centuries. Just attach it firmly.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: just attach it firmly...

          You must also then rock it as hard as you can and declare "that's not going anywhere" to complete the process.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I weep for your gas mileage

          The square law is a harsh mistress, and just because you CAN do a thing, does not mean you SHOULD do a thing.

          (that being 100mph with a luggage box attached)

          1. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: I weep for your gas mileage

            Passed a car doing over 100mph once, which had three bicycles on an upright roof rack. Didn't seem to be causing any difficulties - but we didn't fancy being behind him...

            1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: which had three bicycles on an upright roof rack

              Just imagine if it was a bit windy.

              Brings a whole new meaning to 'hitting a cyclone'.

            2. DCdave
              Joke

              Re: I weep for your gas mileage

              I hope you reported the other driver for speeding

    4. Monty Cantsin

      The officer didn't actually say he was able to identify the car as as a Google Maps car by virtue of the 360-degree cameras mounted on the roof. That seems to be a fabrication by El Reg.

      The Press Release from the Middletown Police Department actually says:

      "As the Vehicle passed by it was identified by Dean as a Google Mapping car with several 360 degree cameras mounted on a tall antenna on top of the car."

      (I've only an FB link for it: https://www.facebook.com/100067048532793/posts/press-releaseon-07312023-at-approximately-1700-hours-chief-landon-j-dean-observe/618828023695477/)

      Clearly the Google Street View decals all over the car helped in in that determination, with him then merely observing that there was a camera on a structure on top of it.

      1. Solviva

        Then El Reg has badly paraphrased the police officer.

        1. Steve Button Silver badge

          SO WHAT!? Now go away.

    5. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Jesus. Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        A Florida man?

    6. Chris 239

      My inlaws they call any vacuum cleaner a hoover and any tablet an ipad, I suspect this the same: any car with a camera on the roof is a Google street view car.

  2. tip pc Silver badge
    Joke

    blurred faces

    i always wondered how they blurred the faces

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Blurred Photograph

      (aside)

      Reading about (historical) painting in the antipodes, artists were always going on about "the light". That didn't mean anything to me until I visited part of the United States with "light" like that shown in photograph accompanying this article. That blurry/misty view is characteristic of parts of the USA at some times of the year, and is completely missing in the part of Australia where I live, where the light is clear and sharp.

      ... you may return to regular programming now ...

      1. Bebu Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Blurred Photograph

        《That blurry/misty view is characteristic of parts of the USA》

        Same could be said of the US body politic.

        It is true that there is something special about the light in AU. Even in a cosmopolitan city like Sydney. The late afternoon sunlight on the sandstone masonry of the colonial era buildings in Sydney's CBD can be utterly enchanting.

        Alas... we return to normal programming.

    2. xyz Silver badge

      Re: blurred faces

      More like blurred faeces when he hit that ditch. Anyone got the gps so we can watch the chase on Google streetview?

      Surely this is an ideal Playmobil recreation scenario.

  3. Rob

    Can't wait to use streetview in this area, will feel like I'm in hyperspace in the millennium falcon or similar.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Pictures or it didn't happen!!

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Holmes

      Pictures

      Something wrong with the one in the article?

    2. TheRealRoland
      Happy

      You're new around here? The phrase is

      "Playmobil, or it didn't happen."

  5. Caver_Dave Silver badge
    Joke

    Driving that fast won't give me time to drop my trousers to them as they pass. They take all the fun away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Probably best not to do that when they're being chased by a police car.

    2. rcxb Silver badge

      Aye, that's whot kilts are fer.

  6. carolinahomes

    Updating, please wait a moment

    There's a single spot in front of 5062 N Raider Rd (northbound lane, near a stop sign just a bit to the south of Shenandoah High School) that is a couple years older than the surrounding. It shows three small trees with no fence, whereas all the other nearby streetview photos show 2 larger trees inside a new chain-link fence (the littlest tree didn't survive).

    https://www.google.com/maps/@40.0055214,-85.5281324,3a,75y,6.22h,70.46t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1si6QUorZADORSpxFaOVyR6w!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

    1. Bowlers

      Re: Updating, please wait a moment

      We were due to meet at a restaurant in a city I didn't know. Used street view to check for parking etc. Going up the road the restaurant was a Chinese, on the way down it was a Thai restaurant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Updating, please wait a moment

        Do it was in fact a Korean one?

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Updating, please wait a moment

        Aldershot. Bottom of the pedestrian area. You can see lots of boarded up shops. Walk around along the road and suddenly it's a building site.

        I think urban weirdness from stitching together images of various ages is quite common.

        I wish Google would put proper dates on their imagery, or in the case of the overhead views, any dates. Where I live, for example, the images are from early 2020. I can tell that because it's after early spring when I did the ground with a ride-on mower for the first time, but before late spring when I used the time of Covid lockdown to sort out a massive pile of brambles.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: I wish Google would put proper dates on their imagery

          Streetview tells you month and year of the image. Click on "see more dates" to look at old versions of the same view. My road was last surveyed Sept 2022 and prior to that, May 2019.

  7. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    They had better ...

    ... keep an eye on that creek for a few months. There will be an inevitable rash of GPS-guided drivers who will make that same turn.

  8. b0llchit Silver badge
    Coat

    Google Creek View

    Coming to a browser near you: Google Creek View, with 360 degree views of fishy parking spots.

  9. Miguel Vieira

    Vroom Vroom Chroom Chroom

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Florida driving license

    Last weekend, here in my podunk little Florida town, I came up to the stoplight at the NE corner of town and noticed it wasn't working.

    This is at the intersection of 2 4-lane roads. So the procedure is to "treat a failed light as a 4-way stop" i.e. you stop and let others already present proceed, then proceed yourself.

    Nope. I watched as people whizzed through at 50mph until **BANG!!!** two of them tried to occupy the same space at the same time.

    I can definitely say all parties in that crash (not "accident") were 100% at fault.

    Then people STILL tried to whizz through, attempting to avoid the crashed cars and the road debris, not understanding they'd be stranded a couple blocks up with flat tires from said debris.

    Sigh.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Florida driving license

      I came up to the stoplight at the NE corner of town and noticed it wasn't working

      Was it flashing or was it out completely? If the latter the fault is on the town for not putting up temporary stop signs.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Florida driving license

        "Was it flashing or was it out completely? If the latter the fault is on the town for not putting up temporary stop signs."

        Towns will put up temp signs if the light is expected to be out for some time and they know about it but it's not their fault for an accident if they don't. If the lights are not working at an intersection, the law states that it must be treated as a 4-way stop (in the US, in all the states I'm aware of). If you don't see the signals, you aren't paying attention. If you have seen them and there is no color lit, you must stop.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Florida driving license

          How are you going to see traffic signals at night that aren't lit/flashing?

          1. emfiliane

            Re: Florida driving license

            Same way you spot anything that's completely unlit: An OH SHIT moment when you get close and slam on the brakes.

            Most traffic light overheads are in cities that have some kind of lighting, though, and are at least a little visible from a distance if you're paying attention. If the whole neighborhood's power is out and dark, well, that's a solid reason to treat driving through with an abundance of extreme caution.

            1. PhilipN Silver badge

              treat driving through with an abundance of extreme caution

              Exactly so. It is what we are supposed to bloody well do anyway - all the time.

            2. heyrick Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Florida driving license

              Speaking from the point of view of a foreigner who got stuck on Captchas... y'all put your traffic lights in really weird places!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Florida driving license

            Your state mandated headlights will show you there is an intersection, the lack of a stop sign means it's an uncontrolled intersection, and you need to stop before entering and proceed at like 15 mph.

            If you were driving to fast in the dark to notice you were traveling to fast for conditions and are at fault if you wreck and can be cited. Bonus points as you are also probably traveling double the posted speed limit, and possibly more than 25 miles an hour over the speed limit, which kick in reckless driving and possibly make it a felony.

            Seriously, don't just F* around an blow through intersections in the dark folks. I assure you unless you are an ambulance or a fire truck, you are not in that big a hurry.

            1. Yes Me Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: Florida driving license

              And I've noticed that emergency vehicles usually proceed carefully, even through green lights. Better they arrive a few seconds later than not arrive at all.

              When they don't take care, oops.

              1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

                Re: Florida driving license

                I have heard of the experienced police officer who disliked riding with rookies, because rookies had a tendency to believe that the lights and siren worked magic.

            2. Number6

              Re: Florida driving license

              Generally, emergency vehicles don't just blow through intersections, in the dark or otherwise, except in movies. They usually slow right down and check for idiots before proceeding, especially if they don't have a green light. Otherwise you can be sure that Murphy will make sure they do meet one of those idiots.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Florida driving license

                "especially if they don't have a green light."

                Even when they do have a green light, there will be one person that doesn't realize that everybody is stopped because they saw/heard an emergency vehicle approaching. That person will just think "Nice, an opening to make a right/left against red, I better hurry" and there they are directly in the path of the vehicle with all of the lights on.

          3. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Florida driving license

            "How are you going to see traffic signals at night that aren't lit/flashing?"

            ummmm, headlights on the car.

            You've pointed out an issue with autonomous cars. What do THEY do when they encounter a controlled intersection where the lights aren't working? They should know that there should be lights, but if they aren't working they won't be able to detect anything. In those instances, there can be a lot of hand waving, eye contact and give/take. Cars aren't going to be able to do that on their own.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Florida driving license

      @Gene C(r)ash, you just got a front row seat to the latest installment of "Florida man" meme.

    3. ProfessorLarry

      Re: Florida driving license

      When I was consulting in Moscow back around peristroika (early 90s), I was assigned a driver who consistently sped through red lights. I asked my interpreter about this and he told me the classic Russian joke that this guy was a "Master Driver" who would duly stop when encountering a green light, just in case there was another Master Driver coming on the cross street.

  11. chivo243 Silver badge
    Devil

    Somehow...

    Darwin is chuckling along... The only thing missing is the 'Hold my beer" moment.

  12. Howard Sway Silver badge

    at that point that the driver lost control and careened through a yard into a creek

    That must have been when he pressed the "I'm feeling lucky" button on the Google dashboard.....

    After he lost control and went through the yard, hopefully there was the obligatory flock of chickens flying into the air, before he ran through a clothes line full of bedsheets and then through a fence, leaving a perfect car + camera shaped hole.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: at that point that the driver lost control and careened through a yard into a creek

      You are Harold Lloyd - or possibly Mack Sennett - and I claim my five pounds!

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: at that point that the driver lost control and careened through a yard into a creek

      Don't forget the big pile of empty cardboard boxes left in the middle of the road for no apparent reason!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF-T1FB3Yno

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: at that point that the driver lost control and careened through a yard into a creek

        Ah how did I know - and hope - that your link was Father Ted?

        Excellent.

        Now WE PUT THE BRICK ON THE ACCELERATOR.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: at that point that the driver lost control and careened through a yard into a creek

          TED ! you forgot your brick!

        2. NXM Silver badge

          Re: at that point that the driver lost control and careened through a yard into a creek

          Do you mind if I put my massive tool in Mrs Doyle's box?

  13. PRR Bronze badge

    For readers outsie the US

    > the speed limit on interstate highways is 70mph

    US36 is not an "Interstate Highway". US routes are legacy local roads with federal money. US36 past the high school there is a plain 2-lane road, looks like 1940s concrete with decades of blacktop topping. Just 4-way at-grade intersections. Parts outside towns are posted 55MPH (88kph); 45 through small towns.

    Highways come from wars. After WWI the Fed realized shipments would go better if the 48 separate highway number systems were rationalized. To get state govs to cooperate on a Federal problem, the fed had to give out money. The shining example (and driver's hell) is US Rt 1 from Florida to Maine, linking the river-ports along the way. This system was staggering when the US went into WWII and doing all that feed-Britain and Lend-Lease stuff, but we limped through. Eisenhower and others saw the German Autobahns and said "Gotta have that at home!" THAT is the "Interstate Highway" system with limited access, cloverleafs, flyovers, and 50-60-70-80+MPH limits.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
      Headmaster

      Re: For readers outsie the US

      It's not always 70 MPH for interstate highways either. In metro areas it is often less (55 / 60 / 65), and in rural areas it can be more (75 is the max in Michigan, but I've heard of 80 or 85 in some states).

      Your history of the "Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways" (according to Wikipedia) is spot on, though.

      1. johnfbw

        Re: For readers outsie the US

        Aw 85mph. *Laughs in German*

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or in a differnt state

          Any speed that is safe and reasonable(at least in the day time)

          Still blowing through intersections in the dark makes you a stupid bell end, regardless of your state or nation.

      2. Ideasource Bronze badge

        Re: For readers outsie the US

        I've got mixed feelings about Eisenhower.

        But I realized that he wasn't the same person for his entire term.

        The identity of a person is best measured by their direction and methodology of thought.

        When that becomes compromised or replaced any previous reputation becomes in effect deceitful.

        In the second half of his administration, he went quite literally insane, at least according to history reports of those who worked closely with him.

        But his public appeal and position was too great to be officially recognized and dealt with effectively.

        So yay for the interstates.

        But boo for the treasonous act of subverting US culture from that of religious tolerance to pro-christian and subsequent erosion of appropriate separation of church and state.

        That dangerous shortcut utilized as unifying war propaganda has continued to precipitate ignorance and hateful acts still to modern day.

        1. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: For readers outsie the US

          Ike - per Macarthur : "The best secretary I ever had"

      3. Number6

        Re: For readers outsie the US

        I've not seen anything faster than 70 MPH in California, but like in the UK, you're unlucky to get pulled for less than 80 unless you're doing something else daft. I-80 through Utah is 80MPH but they'll pull you for even a hair over that. A lot of the big western states typically have 70 or 75 limits on interstates. Montana was "Reasonable and prudent", don't know if it still is.

        1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

          Re: For readers outsie the US

          Montana's experiment lasted only a year or two after the Feds started letting the states set the rules (previous max was 60 urban, 65 rural).

          Michigan's cops -- and this is from cops attending my church -- don't care about the highways until you're 15 over. Surface streets, it depends on the jurisdiction and actual road in question (15 for major routes, 5 or 10 for others).

          But Ohio... If you have out-of-state plates -- especially Michigan -- don't go even ONE over, no matter what the rest of traffic is doing, at least on the I-80/I-90 Ohio Turnpike (toll road). I've driven some off-highway Ohio state routes with nothing but farms around for miles, cruising a nice 5 to 10 over and no one in sight to stop me.

          Wisconsin (I-94) acts similarly to Minnesotan plates: 5 over, no more, but traffic will be passing you.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: For readers outsie the US

            "If you have out-of-state plates"

            That's ringing the cash register. Chances are slim that you'll come back to fight a citation for being 3 over. The officer will chat you up to see if you are just passing through. The court can then book all of those tickets to be heard on a particular day since the officer might need to be present if anybody wishes to fight the ticket. If only a couple of people might show up, they can have 100 citations all booked for that day and just stamp the rest as being "no contest" with the officer available to continue on producing more income for the town.

          2. Jonathan Richards 1
            Joke

            Re: For readers outside the US

            >from cops attending my church

            What sort of church has to call the cops?

    2. Old Used Programmer

      Re: For readers outsie the US

      US 1 (or parts of it, anyway) started life as the Boston Post Road.

      The other requirement for Interstate highways is to have enough clearance under overpasses for a tank on a transporter to go through. As tanks have gotten bigger, older Interstates sometimes get overpasses re-built for more clearance. (The four in the town where I live got re-done by raising them about 18 inches within the last coupe of years.)

  14. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    A Google "upgrade"?

    If they were originally paying $11-$17 an hour then he would have been driving a lot slower. Maybe Google is now paying $11-$17 per hundred miles which would explain his speed.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: A Google "upgrade"?

      "Maybe Google is now paying $11-$17 per hundred miles which would explain his speed."

      That would open Google up for legal action over not paying minimum wage. Companies can pay people based on piece work, but it has to be enough that somebody with reasonable skills will earn at least the local minimum wage. Needing to grossly exceed the speed limit wouldn't be reasonable. Amazon is playing with those requirements with their drivers and contract companies. Another case of being so big they can ignore many employment laws.

  15. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Mash-up

    Would have been an interesting sight if, when he was jumping the red light, there had been a Tesla on "autopilot" entering the junction.

  16. Christoph

    "According to the police statement, he told officers he worked for Google and was afraid to stop"

    Why was he afraid to stop? If he is black then he did have good reason.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1
      Stop

      afraid to stop

      If you're any colo(u)r at all, and you've just barrelled past a school and a police officer, doing a hundred mph, then you're going to be afraid that it's turning out to be a bad day. Doubling down and trying to run is pretty dumb. See icon =>

  17. Spanners Silver badge
    Big Brother

    We need to see the pictures!

    I doubt they will end up on Google maps but they should be made public. Is that something US courts do?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    [You find yourself in a meeting room with a whiteboard and several non-descript executives]

    [A Streetview executive enters]

    "From August 1 we expect a dramatic boost in productivity now we have shifted to paying the labour units by-the-mile, instead of by-the-hour.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this.

      And what's up with "All a contractor has to do is drive around at the speed limit"? Driving *at* the speed limit is almost always impossible. What do these drivers' contracts say?

      Unfortunately this guy's an idiot: he could have got off with a speeding ticket and a good rant that puts Google firmly into the same employee-relations camp as Uber and Amazon, where people would have been happy to blame everything this person's ever done on the faceless techbro employer.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "What do these drivers' contracts say?"

        The contract is going to say that the driver must follow all traffic laws at all times. The telling question is what the supervisor is saying to them off the books.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Yeah, that is true in so many case. BiL worked a short while for a national courier service. "All traffic laws etc must be obeyed, no excuses", but the local managers wanted a certain minimum number of "drops" per day, irregardless of the drivers routes. Routes covering even partially any rural areas were impossible to meet the targets that officially didn't exist. Hw quit and told them what he thought of the borderline illegal employment practices (he was being diplomatic!)

  19. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Stop & Search

    The police officer saw it was a Google vehicle, so he thought he would do a Stop & Search.

  20. WayneS

    Contract wording?

    "All a contractor has to do is drive around at the speed limit".

    Whats the speed limit of the car with that contraption on the roof? At 100 mph was he just doing his contracted job? I doubt it'd have gone much faster.

  21. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Fisheye lens

    The driver heard that the lenses they use on these cameras were wide-angle, so he thought he would compare it with what a fish would see.

  22. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    Dukes of Hazzard episode?

    Anyone else thinking this might of been a revenant of one the less memorable Dukes of Hazzard tv series?

    The pursuing officer could have been Sheriff Coltrane with Boss Hogg somewhere in the background and not looking too clever if he were in the rear seat of the pursuit vehicle.

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