New audio highlights lingering discrepancy in deadly DPS pursuit

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New audio highlights lingering discrepancy in deadly DPS pursuit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) New audio highlights lingering discrepancy in deadly DPS pursuit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

It’s been nearly six months since a police pursuit turned deadly near Camp Verde, and there are still lingering questions about the role played by the second-in-command of the Department of Public Safety.

A report released last month by DPS cleared Lt. Col. Heston Silbert of wrongdoing in the Jan. 24 pursuit, but several prosecutors, expert witnesses and police instructors we contacted still aren’t convinced.

Many believe Silbert broke policy – and perhaps the law.

[READ: DPS report clears 2nd in command in fatal pursuit]

Audio recordings obtained Thursday by CBS 5/3TV highlight one of the lingering discrepancies in the case: was the Lt. Col. asked to take part in the chase, or did he jump into action on his own?

Silbert was off duty and in his personal vehicle when he started pursuing the suspect, Army veteran Bradley Burton Moore. Silbert’s vehicle was not outfitted with lights or sirens, and he informed a dispatcher he had “no police identification whatsoever.”

[READ: Girlfriend: I-17 chase suspect was Army veteran battling PTSD] 

Silbert followed the vehicle for nearly 100 miles. Many experts say he should have backed off when marked units arrived, but the DPS critical incident report cleared him of wrongdoing by determining he was never officially “in pursuit” of the suspect. They also determined Silbert only followed the vehicle because he was asked to do so by a Gilbert police officer.

“I don’t know if these guys just stole a truck – the officer told me to continue after him,” Silbert tells a dispatcher shortly after calling 911. “I’ve got him at Gilbert Road and Guadalupe.”

However, Gilbert police reports describe the interaction with that officer differently. In the newly-released audio, a Gilbert officer radios dispatch with this description: “There was a black Chevy -- or a black truck – that said he was law enforcement and said he was going to follow him and took off after him.”

We asked DPS if their incident investigators interviewed that Gilbert officer; a spokesperson for the agency would only say they interviewed everyone relevant to the investigation.

Nicole Crites contributed to this report.

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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