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Tractor-trailer driver who fled south on northbound I-95 for nearly 8 miles is arrested, Maryland State Police say

The driver of a tractor-trailer traveling the wrong direction on Interstate 95 for nearly 8 miles was arrested Monday after fleeing police, the Maryland State Police said in a news release.

Maurice Cooper, 37, of Haverhill, Florida, was taken into police custody without incident, police said.

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Pending consultation with the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office, Cooper faces charges that include attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, and theft. He was awaiting an initial appearance before a court commissioner in Harford County.

Shortly before 12:30 p.m. Monday, troopers from the JFK Highway Memorial Barrack responded to the Maryland House Travel Plaza for a reported theft, police said. Upon their arrival, troopers made contact with a male victim who told police his jacket and keys were stolen while inside the travel plaza. The victim notified police that the suspect was the driver of a specific tractor-trailer.

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While the victim was informing police of the theft, personnel from the MDTA Courtesy Patrol Unit, who happened to be in the area, advised police of a tractor-trailer exiting the travel plaza on the wrong side.  The tractor-trailer was traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-95, driving against traffic.

With lights and sirens activated, troopers began to follow the tractor-trailer in an attempt to stop the driver while calling the barrack to request additional troopers.  State police in their marked patrol cars with emergency lights activated shadowed the tractor-trailer from the southbound lanes of I-95 while other patrol cars traveled northbound on I-95 toward the tractor-trailer.

After approximately 3 miles, the driver stopped the tractor-trailer on the fast shoulder in an active work zone where several highway workers were conducting roadwork, police said. A trooper exited his vehicle in an effort to make contact with the driver. He climbed onto the passenger side step of the tractor-trailer.

Through an open passenger side window, the trooper made several verbal requests for the driver to shift the truck into park and hand over his keys. In response to the trooper’s request, police said, the driver accelerated into the northbound lanes of I-95, again traveling south against northbound traffic.

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The trooper continued to yell at the driver to stop, but he refused, the release said. As the driver continued to accelerate, the trooper was subsequently thrown from the truck onto the highway, police said, suffering minor injuries. He refused medical treatment at the scene.

Preliminary information indicates that the driver continued to drive against traffic for approximately 4 more miles and crossed all lanes of northbound I-95 to the slow shoulder into a construction zone where he made a U-turn and continued north on I-95, police said.  An off-duty police officer, aware of the incident, followed the tractor-trailer as it exited I-95.

A helicopter from the Baltimore County Police Department responded to assist and located the tractor-trailer as it pulled into a motel parking lot in the 1700 block of Edgewood Road in Edgewood. According to witnesses, the driver then fled on foot into a wooded area behind the motel, police said.

Troopers on the scene established a perimeter with the assistance of deputies from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.  During the search of the area, police along with a K-9 from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office tracked the suspect. The suspect, later identified as Cooper, was located along the wood line and taken into custody without incident, police said.

Investigators from the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division North will lead the investigation.  Any witnesses are asked to contact the JFK Highway Memorial Barrack at 410-537-1150.

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