The helicopter's FLIR thermal camera can't see through trees.
A driver in a red Chevrolet Corvette successfully evaded police during a high-speed chase in Daytona Beach, Florida, on November 21 despite a helicopter tracking the vehicle.
The chase started when Florida's Volusia County Sheriff's Office staged an undercover drug sting. Deputies believed the Corvette's driver was involved in suspicious activity and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver sped away, though.
Rather than the potential danger of following closely in cruisers, the police elected to allow the helicopter to follow the Corvette. The chopper's video showed the red coupe driving at high speeds, entering oncoming lanes, running red lights, smashing through the cones in a construction zone, and using the median to pass traffic.
The driver eventually pulled into an apartment complex and left the vehicle. The helicopter activated its FLIR thermal imaging camera, but the guy ran into a group of trees that successfully blocked the chopper from seeing him. According to Orlando's WKMG News, police found a stolen gun, marijuana, heroin, and money inside the 'Vette.
A separate chase stemming from the same drug bust was somewhat more successful. The police helicopter followed a speeding vehicle until the driver and passenger bailed from the damaged car. The chopper was able to successfully lead the K-9 officers to the driver who was attempting to hide in an apartment complex.
The video below provides a longer look at both car chases. It's fascinating to see how well the Corvette driver is able to evade the helicopter's thermal camera once he gets under the trees. According to WKMG News, K-9 units on the scene tried to track him, but the dogs weren't able to find the guy.