Thursday, January 7, 2016

Driver attempts to hit officer as police chase covers MD 355/270 corridor from Germantown to Bethesda

Montgomery County Police pursued a stolen vehicle Wednesday night throughout large portions of the jurisdiction. Around 11:45 PM, police spotted a stolen, white Mercedes Benz with Virginia tags, and began a chase around Gunners Branch Road in Germantown.

Multiple units, including at least one K-9, pursued the Mercedes through the Watkins Mill area off of MD 355, with the suspects reportedly weaving all over the road. The chase continued through Old Town Gaithersburg and the heart of Montgomery Village, before turning north on Brink Road to MD 27, and back to 355 again.

While racing through Montgomery Village, one officer called for a helicopter. As the County Council foolishly declined to fund a County Police helicopter a number of years back, that means waiting for a Maryland State Police chopper to come from outside the County. A while later, an officer pleaded with the dispatcher, "Can you get the helicopter started?"

Returning to Germantown, stop sticks were deployed at Observation Drive to no avail. Based on scanner reports, it appears the driver of the Mercedes aimed the vehicle at one of the officers attempting to deploy stop sticks. "Be careful with the sticks - he went right at that officer," a colleague warned via radio.

A second attempt with stop sticks failed in Germantown. "We set 'em up, and they were missed," an officer radioed.

The suspects then returned to southbound 355, turning onto Montgomery Village Avenue and then onto southbound I-270. "Let DC and Virginia know we might be coming their way. P.G., too," an officer told the dispatcher.

Sure enough, the suspects passed River Road and Clara Barton Parkway, and crossed the American Legion Bridge into Virginia.

"Cut off all the lights and let him go!" an officer shouted into the radio.

A Virginia State Police cruiser passed him, and was attempting to continue the pursuit on the Beltway as Montgomery officers withdrew from the chase.

Alas, the radio channel for the Virginia State Police Division 7 is currently offline, so the outcome of the pursuit is not known at this time. There was no report on the pursuit on the Fairfax County Police channel.

Once again, this is a reminder of the dangers County officers face on a daily basis in protecting our community.

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