Kevin Handy was allegedly chasing his estranged wife in his Jeep Grand Cherokee after an argument. The pursuit ended when Handy clipped the rear end of the woman's Nissan Altima, crashing his Jeep and eventually dying from his injuries, according to the Houston Chronicle. Handy's wife had filed a restraining order against him after a previous incident when he allegedly threw an object at his wife.
Why didn't the restraining order stop the alleged chase that led to Handy's death?
A court order is one way to try to stop domestic violence. A restraining order or order of protection can be filed against an abuser, depending on the seriousness of the abuse.
An order of protection is a court order that prohibits an abuser from contacting a victim. Such an order can also force the abuser to move from a shared residence, to stay more than 100 yards away from the victim, to pursue counseling, or to prohibit the abuser from buying a firearm, among other restrictions.
A restraining order is specifically made to force an abuser to vacate the premises where the abuser and victim cohabitate. In general, a victim can obtain this type of order without confronting the abuser in court. These orders are typically granted when the victim has been harmed or faces imminent harm. Restraining orders can be granted before or after an order of protection.
In this case, it appears Handy was likely violating a court order when he was arguing with his wife -- an argument that could have gotten him arrested. If only his wife had called police during the argument, Handy may have avoided wrecking his Jeep.
While a restraining order or order of protection will give you the legal ability to have the abuser arrested, the abuser can still try to contact or come close to you in violation of the order. In some cases, a person who requests a restraining order can also ask for a police escort.
In this unfortunate case, the restraining order alone couldn't stop the confrontation or the fatal crash that followed. If you are being abused, it's a good idea to remain vigilant even after obtaining a restraining order, and to call the police if the abuser refuses to comply.