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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Deputy Chief John Dipietro

Aired June 10, 2003 - 19:46   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUDACRIS, ENTERTAINER: All right. You each got a barrel going down to the end of the road here. Second wave got to sit tight until your partner crosses this line here. First team down and back twice wins the race at which point the losers will hand over them keys. Otherwise you'll be eating breakfast through straws from now on.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is that movie to fast to furious to blame for violations of the law?

And I not just the laws of grammar and physics, of course. Some law enforcement officials concerned that the new movie about cars and their pet humans will encourage dangerous speeding. The movie "2 Fast 2 Furious" opened at no. 1 this weekend in the box office, pulling in $50 million.

Police in California arrested five people allegedly street racing after they saw the movie. L.A. Police say a driver in a deadly crash there just had also just seen the movie. And police in Miami Township, Ohio, are trying to figure out if it played a role in a deadly crash there involving another driver who had just seen the movie.

Miami Township deputy chief of police, John DiPietro, joins us now from Dayton. Deputy chief, thanks for being with us. The two people have now died this collision that occurred on Sunday. The 17- year-old who was driving in the wrong lane had apparently just seen the movie, "2 fast, 2 Furious."

At this point have ruled out or do you know whether or not he was drag racing?

DEP. CHIEF JOHN DIPIETRO, MIAMI TOWNSHIP P.D.: Well here is where we are at right now. And let me just say this, Our condolences to the victim's family on both victims. A very tragic. What we are looking at right now, we've got a 17-year-old for some unknown reason crosses the center line, is in the opposite lane of traffic, and hits a 59-year-old driver. Now the thing that we're concerned about is that there was a comment made by the friend of the 17-year-old. He said, basically, just come from the movie "Fast and Furious."

COOPER: Now this was a friend who was driving behind him?

DIPIETRO: Yes. The 17-year-old had a friend behind him and actually witnessed the entire accident. So at this point, obviously, we can't make a direct correlation between the movie, the accident, understand that the investigation is not even 48 hours old yet, but it is of interest to us as to why those comments were made.

COOPER: Yes. We've got a statement form Universal Studios and I just read it out to our audience. They released a statement in response to the allegations their movie causes car crashes.

Here's part of what they said, quote, "When the original 'The Fast and Furious' was released two years ago, there was an unjustified attempt be some to link it to every street racing accident that made the news. Now the same thing is happening with '2 Fast 2 Furious.' The stunts preformed in '2 Fast 2 Furious' were performed by trained professionals in a staged environment."

Just as a deputy chief of the police, do you have any response to that?

DIPIETRO: Well, I would say that with anything, you always have the possibility of some sort of influence on today's youth. I mean, we see it with video games, with television, with movies. You know, these types of programs and video games are reaching out to the young kids, and they're reaching out to them before they're getting the driver's license.

So one would only speculate and I would probably have to assume that, yes, there's a small percentage of the younger population, the younger drivers, if you will, that are affected by this. And when -- you know, I saw this one video game to where they're teaching actually people how to pursue or in the outrun the police and I take issue with that. I think that's the wrong message being sent to today's youth.

COOPER: All right.

DIPIETRO: Us as a police department, as a crime prevention organization, we try to reach out to the youth. Just recently we did something with a high school to bring in, you know, vehicles that were involved in car crashes. We have students that actually play the victims. And try to reach out to these kids and say, hey, this happen, this is real life. It's not a cartoon. You don't get up after you've been in an accident and survive this. This is real life.

COOPER: All right. Deputy Chief John DiPietro, appreciate you joining us and good luck in the investigation. I would also like point out that we, invited people from Universal Studios to comment on the program tonight. To be with us tonight. They declined our invitation.

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