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Big traffic stop for Chesterfield’s newest top cop

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield County Police Chief Jeffrey Katz has only been on the job for a few months, but he's already had his first big traffic stop.

"This is the first time in Virginia that I am attempting a traffic stop and go figure, right,” said Chief Katz.

"I said, you know what, I think I’m going to stop this car and warn the driver,” said Chief Katz. “I stopped at the red light and looked in my rear-view mirror and I see a green Ford Mustang. It’s accelerating past the other cars and not using its turn signals, driving kinda crazy."

Chief Katz

But the new chief would then have to initiate a traffic stop on the Mustang, and when it pulled onto the entrance ramp to 288 South, he tapped the siren a few times.

"All of a sudden the car straddles the center-line and just shoots down 288 at a high rate of speed,” said Chief Katz. “The cars that were in the left and right lanes in the lanes had to go to the shoulders.”

But the chief did not chase.

"We had a direction of travel (the suspect’s car),” said Chief Katz. “I didn't pursue the car, I was in an unmarked car that’s not pursuit-rated and I follow our policies. I'm trying to lead by example right,” he added with a laugh.

Later, another officer located the car driven by 37-year-old Kris Cherici. Inside the vehicle, officers say there was evidence of drug use.

Kris Cherici

The chief didn't have to come out to that traffic stop, but he did, offering back-up and advice to the woman that had run from him.

"I said to her, ‘Listen, it’s just traffic. It’s just traffic. You could have gotten yourself, you could have gotten somebody else killed. Do me a favor and promise you’re never going to run again if somebody tries to pull you over, cause it's just traffic,'" the chief said.

“She promised, and I have to hope she means it,” he added.

Cherici was charged with eluding and drug possession with the intent to distribute.