2-county chase ends in shooting


An unidentified police officer shot and slightly wounded a Jessup woman late Monday after a high-speed chase that began at a trailer park in Elkridge and ended in a field in Montgomery County.

The woman appeared naked at the Deep Run trailer park, asking a resident for help.

After the woman's husband arrived, demanding to see her, the two left in his car, which became the target of the two-county chase.

Officers from Howard and Montgomery counties were involved, but police said it was unclear which department was responsible for the shot that hit the woman.

Montgomery police charged Robert Smith, 23, of the 8200 block of Washington Blvd. with assault with intent to maim and avoiding lawful apprehension. Other charges are pending in Howard County.

Marion Smith, 22, of the same address was treated at Holy Cross Hospital for a wound to her left arm and released yesterday.

Mr. Smith, who was wanted in Howard County on a bench warrant issued April 21 when he failed to appear for trial on rape charges, was treated at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda and jailed in the Detention Center without bail.

He was charged Aug. 2 by Howard police with second-degree rape, a fourth-degree sex offense, assault and battery. He was released on a $100,000 bond Aug. 27, under pretrial supervision, according to court records.

Monday's chase began about 9:30 p.m. after witnesses said a naked woman shouting for help approached a couple outside their home at the park.

The couple, who asked to remain anonymous, took the woman into their trailer and gave her a T-shirt and a pair of jogging pants. Then a man knocked at the door and yelled for the woman, who asked the couple not to call the police.

The man forced his way inside, the woman who lives there told police. Police said Mr. Smith struggled with the man but did not injure him.

"I called the police," said the female trailer resident. "I was scared. I asked her if he had a gun. She said, 'No.' "

She barricaded the woman in a bedroom, but her husband said the threats to his family had gone too far, and the woman left with her husband in a black Pontiac Trans Am.

An acquaintance of Mr. Smith said he earlier had forced his way into her trailer, where Mrs. Smith's clothing was found.

Investigators said Mrs. Smith may have been abducted by her husband.

Howard police spotted the car at about 10:40 p.m. on Old Waterloo Road near the entrance to the trailer park. When Mr. Smith failed to stop, the officer gave chase, said police spokesman Sgt. Gary L. Gardner.

The chase began at the intersection of Lark Brown and Route 108 and continued to Interstate 95 south, where Mr. Smith was traveling in excess of 100 mph, police said.

The chase continued west on Route 216 to U.S. 29, where Mr. Smith turned south into Montgomery County, and officers there aided in the pursuit. As the Howard officers were returning to their county, Mr. Smith turned around and drove toward them, Sergeant Gardner said. He rammed a Montgomery police car, then ran his car into a field near U.S. 29 and Fairland Road, the spokesman said.

Sgt. Harry E. Geehreng, a Montgomery police spokesman, said several shots were fired by officers from both counties in an effort to stop the car.

One bullet hit Mrs. Smith in the left arm; another hit the tire of the Smiths' car.

Police said they believed that Mr. Smith injured his head in the car collision, which occurred shortly after 11 p.m.

Montgomery police are investigating to determine who shot Mrs. Smith, Sergeant Geehreng said.

One Montgomery officer has filed assault with intent to maim charges against Mr. Smith, he said.

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