Shots fired at car in I-70 chase Police say pursuit of 2 reckless drivers began on Route 99; 14-year-old boy arrested; Officers say 1 vehicle had spun into median, headed for them


Howard County police officers fired at a car allegedly driven by a teen-ager as it bore down on them in the median of Interstate 70 during a lengthy highway chase early yesterday.

Police arrested a 14-year-old boy and are seeking the driver of another car involved in the chase, police said.

There were no serious injuries. Police said the boy, who was not further identified, was not struck by any bullets, but did suffer a cut hand.

The pursuit began at 4: 15 a.m., when an officer spotted two Honda Accords -- one gray and one gold -- driving recklessly eastbound on Route 99 near U.S. 29 in Ellicott City, said Sgt. Morris Carroll, the department spokesman.

The cars drove east on Route 99, which turns into Rogers Avenue and runs into U.S. 40, Carroll said.

Police followed the tailgating cars for several minutes before trying to pull them over, Carroll said.

Now traveling westbound on U.S. 40, the Hondas' drivers ignored the flashing lights and sirens, turning north on Marriottsville Road toward I-70, Carroll said.

Once the Hondas turned east on I-70, they reached speeds exceeding 80 mph, Carroll said.

Near the Baltimore County line, three Howard County police cars -- also heading east -- tried to slow the speeding Hondas, Carroll said. The gold Honda evaded the officers, who pulled aside to avoid a collision. The gray Honda spun into the median, Carroll said.

When two officers ran toward the car resting in the median, it headed straight for them, Carroll said.

"We know a vehicle can be a deadly weapon," Carroll said. "When an officer's life is placed in fear, he may have to use deadly force" to protect himself.

The officers shot at the car's windshield, said Carroll, who would not disclose how many rounds were fired nor the identity of the officers.

"At that point, your intent is to stop the vehicle," he said. "That means aiming at the driver."

The car continued west on I-70 before being abandoned -- almost exactly where the chase began at Route 99 and U.S. 29, said Carroll, who added that police bullets had struck the car's windshield.

About 5: 30 a.m., police arrested a 14-year-old near I-70 and were planning to charge him in connection with the incident, Carroll said. Police are still searching for the driver of the gold Honda Accord, tags 02883HD, he said.

One car was reported stolen from Owings Mills and the other from Baltimore, Carroll said.

Both officers involved in the shooting were put on administrative leave, a normal procedure, pending an investigation, Carroll said.

Maryland State Police are also investigating the shooting because the incident happened on a state-patrolled highway.

Pub Date: 5/12/98

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