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Darlington Elementary locked down Tuesday as deputies search for suspect from Pennsylvania

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

10:34 AM EDT, August 28, 2013

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Darlington Elementary School was on partial lockdown Tuesday as police searched the area near the school for a suspect who fled a vehicle after a chase from Pennsylvania, according to Harford County Public Schools spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld.

The suspect remained on the loose Tuesday afternoon but was believed to have left Harford County, Lt. Matthew Kail, of Maryland State Police, said.

The suspect was identified as Carl Sexton, 43, of Oxford, Pa., and may have a knife, Trooper Stefanie Trzaska of Pennsylvania State Police said.

Pennsylvania State Police had been pursuing three suspects in a car across Conowingo Dam on Route 1 when one of them fled the car at Shuresville Road, which intersects Route 1 on the Harford County side of the dam, at about 11:38 a.m., Kail said.

The chase began in Robert Fulton Township, Pa., and ended in the 2300 block of Shuresville, Trzaska said.

Troopers used a police tracking dog and Maryland State Police helicopter, he said, setting up a perimeter around the area.

"At this point, there is still a suspect on the loose," Kail said around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Nevertheless, he said, "we believe the individual has fled the area," he said. "At this point, the [Darlington] scene has been cleared."

Sexton was wanted for violating parole on a burglary conviction, Trzaska said.

Darlington Elementary was put on what school officials call "modified lockdown" at about noon, meaning school activities could continue but no one could leave or enter the school, Kranefeld said.

The Harford County Sheriff's Office had also prepared to provide additional security at the end of the school day, Kranefeld said.

"We have had a few extra deputies in the area patrolling perimeter areas," Sheriff's Office spokesman Edward Hopkins wrote in an e-mail, adding, "I understand we responded a deputy to the school to meet with their security director."

No one was injured in the chase and the driver and passenger from the vehicle were arrested on the scene, Trzaska said.

Neither Trzaska nor Kail knew where Sexton is believed to be. Trzaska said he was last seen in a cornfield in Darlington.

"A lengthy search of the area was conducted for approximately three hours," according to a Maryland State Police press release.

Sexton is described as a non-Hispanic white man, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds, with long brown hair; he was wearing a black T-shirt and dark jeans, Trzaska said.

Anyone with information on Sexton is asked to call police.

The driver, Joseph Charles Apitsch Jr., 30, from Maryland, was charged with fleeing and eluding police and hindering apprehension of a felon, she said.