An Abingdon man is accused of attempted murder and multiple other charges after he led law enforcement on a chase Thursday, dragging one Harford sheriff’s deputy and striking another with his vehicle, police said.
Jacob Michael Seaman, 33, of the 4000 block of Timothy Drive, is charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder, two counts each of first- and second-degree assault, second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, plus four counts of reckless endangerment, according to electronic court records.
Seaman was held without bond at the Harford County Detention Center after an initial appearance before a District Court Commissioner Friday morning, according to online court records. He waived his right to an attorney during that appearance, records show. It is unclear if he has retained legal representation. A bail review hearing in Harford County District Court has been scheduled for Monday afternoon.
The two Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputies are recovering from their injuries suffered following an attempted traffic stop and pursuit.
Shortly before 2:30 p.m. Thursday, deputies assigned to the sheriff’s Crime Suppression Unit made a traffic stop on I-95 near the Route 24 underpass, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
At a Friday news conference, Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said the traffic stop was initiated because the deputy had seen Seaman involved in a drug transaction.
While pulled over, Seaman refused Deputy Austin Gentry’s commands and reached under a seat, so Gentry reached into the car to grab him, Gahler said. Seaman then hit the gas and dragged Gentry a short distance while he was partially in the car, he said.
Gentry, an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, returned to his vehicle and began pursuit. He was later taken to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Hospital in Bel Air where he was treated and released with minor injuries suffered during the incident.
Additional deputies and Maryland State Police Troopers joined the pursuit as Seaman’s vehicle continued onto Route 152 before turning right onto Old Joppa Road, police said.
During the chase, Seaman exceeded speeds of 80 mph and drove on the shoulder of the road, according to documents filed in Harford County District Court.
Tire spike strips were deployed at the intersection of Old Joppa and Whitaker Mill roads near Fallston.
Seaman attempted to avoid the stop-sticks, Gahler said, and drove straight at Senior Deputy J. Nate Gerres, who was helping deploy the traps, and struck him.
Gahler said the speed of Seaman’s vehicle was not known, but it was going faster than the posted 30 mph speed limit when it struck Gerres. While the incident is still being reconstructed, Gahler was told that the deputy was thrown 15 to 20 feet in the air before landing in some grass.
“After striking the deputy, the vehicle continued, sideswiping a civilian vehicle,” Gahler said. “Then it went pretty much full speed into an empty Maryland State Police vehicle, which I am told is completely totaled.”
According to court documents, Seaman saw the police cars at the intersection and thought he could drive through them to get away. “As he drove through the intersection, Jacob Seaman saw a police officer in front of his car and tried to stop from striking them, but couldn’t,” the documents state.
Seaman fled the vehicle after hitting the state police car, but was taken into custody after a short foot chase, police said.
Gerres, a member of the sheriff’s office since 2004, was airlifted to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for injuries to his lower leg, police said, which he was still being seen for Friday. Gahler said Gerres’ road to recovery would be long and that the deputy has at least two fractures to his leg.
Though Gahler said “thankful” is the wrong word, he was relieved that Gerres was not more seriously injured.
“Here is an individual who, instead of doing what the law requires of him … nearly took the life of one of our deputies,” he said.
A small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia were recovered from Seaman’s car, but there were plenty of opportunities to dispose of other evidence during the chase, Gahler said.
Investigators spoke to Seaman after the incident, who told them he had run because he believed there was an warrant out for his arrest, and he did not want to go back to jail, Gahler said. There was not a warrant for his arrest, the sheriff clarified.
Initially, investigators charged Seaman with one count of first-degree attempted murder, according to electronic court documents, but that charge was not certified by a commissioner. Gahler said he believed the incident warranted a first-degree charge, and was disappointed the charge was not certified, but recognized that the determination falls to the court system.
“If you take a vehicle and you drive it into a pedestrian on foot … with intent, that is, in my opinion, a first-degree [attempted murder],” he said. “I do not know why they reached that conclusion, but that is their job.”
Seaman has been in the detention center before, Gahler said. The last time he left it, he almost immediately stole a car from a nearby 7-Eleven, about a half-mile away, Gahler said.
Online court records show the alleged car theft occurred occurred Feb. 7, shortly after Seaman had been arrested on drug possession charges and released on his own recognizance. Seaman was arrested and charged with the car theft in March and posted $5,000 bond March 9, court records show. Trial dates for earlier this year have not been rescheduled in that case.
No other officers or civilians were injured, according to police.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division have taken over the case.
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Old Joppa Road was closed between Whitaker Mill Road and Route 1 for several hours Thursday while police collected evidence from the scene.