Could new technology stop wrong-way drivers?

A local inventor says his technology, the Grappler, could put a stop to suspect vehicles.

PEORIA, Ariz. - A Peoria man is working on an invention he believes could stop police chases in minutes, instead of miles.

Leonard Stock is a roofing contractor who came up with the idea after watching a police chase on television. 

"In the process of getting a device that would work, I though it would be great if I could get the wheel to lock up," Stock said. 

Stock invented The Grappler.

It's a net of high-strength webbing, attached to a metal framework on the front of a police car. The officer folds it down to run along the pavement, then drives behind the suspect car. When the webbing touches the back tire, it gets wrapped around the axle, stopping the car in its tracks.

Stock said the Grappler could have stopped Thursday morning's wrong-way driver in seconds, instead of the 18 miles she was allegedly able to drive.

DPS troopers arrested Megan Melanson, 25, for allegedly driving the wrong way on Valley freeways for 18 miles early Thursday morning. Troopers deployed stop sticks before she finally pulled over. 

"If The Grappler had been used, " Stock said, "the chase would have been over in 10 to 15 seconds."

Stock claims his invention is better than the PIT maneuver, in which officers spin out suspect vehicles by lightly tapping them with patrol cars. Stock said The Grappler doesn't require any contact with the suspect car and there's no way to avoid it, unlike stop sticks.

However, Stock said The Grappler is not currently for sale. He's still refining the design and getting input from various police agencies. He hopes to have a production model built soon.

(© 2017 KPNX)


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