Police officer dragged by car; woman charged; He returns to work feeling 'pretty sore'


A Westminster woman was charged yesterday in connection with an incident in which a police officer was dragged about 250 feet as he clung to a car Monday.

Patricia V. Lewis, 24, of the 900 block of Wampler Lane was being held at the Carroll County Detention Center in lieu of $50,000 bail, awaiting a hearing today in District Court.

Westminster Officer Tom Kowalczyk suffered multiple abrasions and bruises and at first was unable to stand because of severe neck pain after he fell from the car and landed on his back on 46th Street, he said in charging documents.

Kowalczyk was treated and returned to work Tuesday, "pretty sore, but OK," said Capt. Randy Barnes, a police spokesman.

Kowalczyk said he approached a four-door car in an alley behind 46th Street at 8: 18 a.m. Monday because he thought the driver was wanted on bench warrants.

The officer said he asked the female driver to get out. He had one hand on the door when the driver suddenly accelerated and sped away, turning east on 46th Street.

Kowalczyk was dangling and being dragged. He said he feared that if he let go of the door, he might be run over by the speeding car. He said he yelled several times for the driver to stop and the woman yelled, "Let go!"

After the car slowed slightly, the officer let go and fell to the roadside, he said.

Despite his injuries, Kowalczyk broadcast a description of the vehicle. Barnes, who was in an unmarked police vehicle, saw the suspect vehicle and began an eight-mile chase.

Speeds reached 65 mph in a 30-mph zone on South Center Street, 90 mph in a 40-mph zone on Washington Road and 70 mph in a 40-mph zone on Deer Park Road before a marked patrol car joined the pursuit and the car stopped, according to charging documents.

Barnes said the driver was arrested and held on the bench warrants for violation of probation until Kowalczyk completed his investigation and charged her yesterday with first- and second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of cocaine, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and nearly a dozen related traffic offenses.

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