A State Police spokesman said today that troopers involved in a high-speed chase resulting the death of a 14-year-old boy in Westminster followed established policies designed to protect police, suspects and others.
"We gave this youngster every opportunity to slow and stop," said spokesman Chuck Jackson. "There was an immediate need to apprehend and remove this vehicle from the roadway."
The crash, which instantly killed Anthony Tyrone Anderson of the 3400 block of Dupont Ave. in northwest Baltimore, occurred about 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Md. 140 and Cranberry Road near Cranberry Mall. Police say the Anderson youth was driving a stolen 1990 Buick that left the road and slammed into an Exxon advertising sign.
Mr. Jackson said the Buick had been reported stolen earlier Saturday in Randallstown.
A 14-year-old passenger in the car, who also is from northwest Baltimore, was critically injured in the crash. Mr. Jackson declined to identify the youth because of his age and pending criminal charges.
The youth, who received multiple injuries, was flown by a MedEvac helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was listed in critical condition today, police said.
The 8-mile pursuit, in which troopers and the youngsters traveled at speeds of more than 100 mph, began when Trooper Jeffrey S. Hartzler, 27, clocked the Buick on radar going 70 mph in a 45-mph zone westbound on Md. 140 in Finksburg, police said.
Police said the Buick ran at least one traffic light during the chase. The Anderson youth also managed to elude a "rolling roadblock" set up by troopers, Mr. Jackson said.
"We have a very clear policy" on when to begin a pursuit, Mr. Jackson said, adding that it covers five pages in a State Police manual issued to each trooper. Troopers "have a lot of decisions to make in a relatively short period of time -- seconds," he said.
"Police don't begin chases," Mr. Jackson added. "Generally, violators do."
He said police still were trying to determine why the youths tried to run from the troopers -- other than the fact that they allegedly were speeding and driving a stolen car. No drugs or alcohol were found in the car, Mr. Jackson said.
Investigators have not been able to interview the passenger because of the seriousness of his injuries.
State Police said five other people died in traffic accidents in Maryland over the weekend.
Four of the fatalities, two of whom were children, occurred in a three-car accident Saturday in St. Mary's County.
Kelvin D. Yorkshire, 29, of Lexington Park, was driving a Buick Skylark westbound on Md. 234 in Mechanicsville about 2:30 p.m. Saturday when he ran into the back of a 1977 Cadillac driven by Michael J. Morlatt, 36, of Mechanicsville, said Sgt. James Raley of the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Department.
Sergeant Raley said the impact drove the Cadillac into the eastbound lane, where it crashed head-on into a 1986 Ford Escort driven by David W. Johnson, 40, also of Mechanicsville, and occupied by four passengers.
Mr. Yorkshire was taken to Prince George's General Hospital in Cheverly, where he died four hours later, Sergeant Raley said.
The occupants of Mr. Johnson's car who died were identified by Sergeant Raley as Mitzie Lee Johnson, 23; her son, Wayne D. Johnson, 2; and James A. Morton, 3, all of Mechanicsville.
William D. Johnson, 6 months, was taken to the Children's Hospital National Medical Center in Washington and was listed in critical condition today, Sergeant Raley said. Mr. Johnson was taken to the MedStar trauma unit at Washington Hospital Center, where he was listed in critical condition.
The relationship of David Johnson and Mitzie Johnson was not known.
Sergeant Raley said speed, driver error and the use of alcohol on the part of Mr. Yorkshire contributed to the crash. He said the odor of alcohol was detected on Mr. Yorkshire's breath.
Baltimore County police said John Arthur Oyan, 39, of the 3400 block of Winterberry Court, was killed shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday when the car he was driving west on Tufton Avenue near Reisterstown Road failed to negotiate a curve at Mantua Mill Road and crashed into a stone wall.
Mr. Oyan was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said speed and driver error contributed to the crash.
State Police at Pikesville said the fatalities brought to 45 the number of people killed on Maryland roadways so far this year, the same number of highway deaths as at this time last year.