Man charged after hit and run in Catonsville prompts helicopter search, foot chase

A Columbia man is facing four criminal charges and more than 20 traffic citations after fleeing the scene of a crash in Catonsville on Sunday night, running from police into a wooded area and prompting a helicopter and K9 search.

Robert Cathcart, 47, is charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, failing to obey a lawful order and attempting to disarm a police officer.

Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Jennifer Peach said the incident started shortly after 8 p.m. Feb. 18 when Cathcart’s gray Toyota Tacoma swerved into the opposite lane on Frederick Road in Oella, hitting a car carrying a family of four. Nobody from that car had to be taken to the hospital for treatment, Peach said.

“It just so happened that there was a witness to this event: an off-duty Baltimore City police officer,” Peach said.

The officer reported the crash to county police and followed the pickup truck west on Frederick Road. She then saw the truck turn and flip over in the 3000 block of Westchester Avenue.

The officer confronted Cathcart as he emerged from the truck, identifying herself as police and ordering him to stop, Peach said. He continued to run into a nearby wooded area.

K9 units and a police helicopter responded to the scene and used thermal-imaging technology to pinpoint the man’s location in the woods. Officers chased him by foot through a stream and eventually arrested him.

The report noted a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath and person,” police said.

Cathcart sustained minor injuries and was transported to Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, where police say he became “combative,” kicking the arresting officer and trying to grab his gun belt. He was restrained at the hospital.

During his hospital stay, Cathcart was released from custody on his own recognizance.

Cathcart could not be located for comment and there was no attorney information listed in online court records.

In addition to the four criminal charges, Cathcart is facing 27 traffic citations, including driving while impaired by alcohol.

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