Husband of woman killed in police chase works to change pursuit policies
SALT LAKE CITY — More than a month after an innocent bystander was killed in a police chase that ended in Rose Park, the victim’s husband is preparing to reopen their bakery while pushing for changes to police pursuits on Capitol Hill.
On Oct. 18, Thy Vu Mims, a wife and mother of two boys, was out for brunch with a friend when a North Salt Lake police officer pursued a suspected drunk driver into Rose Park. The driver crashed into Mims’ car, killing her and seriously injuring her friend.
“It’s scary thinking about your children losing the love of a mother,” her husband Tripp Mims said. “We’ll never be able to replace her. But I can just keep, keep pushing on. Hopefully making a difference to the people that I care about.”
Amid their grief over the next few weeks, Mims and his son Mars headed to Capitol Hill to meet with various legislators about the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death and what could help prevent a crash like this from happening again.
Mims said he knew he needed to act, “instead of looking into what is the abyss of sorrow and pain.”
“It rips apart families in the most violent ways you can imagine,” he said. “It’s terrible and I’m absolutely determined to see the policy changes come into place, knowing that it could be years from now.”
More than a month after his wife was killed as an innocent bystander in a police chase that ended in Rose Park, I talked to Tripp about what he’s doing to push for changes in policies surrounding police pursuits. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/BgFhJT6cWg
— Matt Rascon KSL (@MattRasconKSL) November 23, 2021
The Salt Lake City Police Department is investigating the crash. That investigation is ongoing and they have not said whether the officer acted within existing policy at the North Salt Lake Police Department.
Mims said his fight for change is not a blame game with police, though he said he believes police broke their policy in this case.
“I don’t blame them for doing what we ask them to do and go right up to that bar of policy. But that policy is too high. It needs to be reined in. Otherwise, you know, this will just happen again and again.”
In regard to the suspected drunk driver with a criminal record who hit Thy, Mims said, “the system failed him. He should have been in jail years ago.”
“He will see his day of what the prosecutor is going to call justice. In reality, we’ll never get what we want which is Thy back. But he will feel the full extent of the law, which is appropriate.”
Mims knows it could be years for change to happen. But he said he’s in it for the long run. Just as he is with the bakery, Mims SLC, that he started at the beginning of the pandemic.
“I foresee going between the bakery and policy changes during different seasons when each is required,” he said.
On top of being a mother and working full-time, Thy was instrumental in building the Mims SLC brand online and in the small business world.
Since her death, the ovens have been cold and empty. But five weeks later, Mims is back in the bakery he built in his garage, preparing to offer his homemade bread to customers once again.
“There’s no going back. I’ve invested everything I have into it. Bread is my life now,” he said.
“Keep the idea that Thy started where Mims is a platform. We happen to sell bread but building community and pushing the food industry forward in a thoughtful way.”
KSL reached out to several legislators that Mims has been in contact with.
Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, confirmed he spoke to Mims about his heartbreaking situation. Kitchen told KSL he has concerns about what happened and he is working with policy staff to figure out the best approach. He said he believes there is room for dialogue and updates to policy but that they are also waiting for the full report when the investigation has wrapped up.
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