Early morning Anne Arundel County chase ends with police officer shooting motorist; Driver's condition critical; his van, cruiser collided


A 41-year-old man was in critical condition yesterday after being shot by Anne Arundel County police at the end of a bizarre early morning pursuit of his minivan from Arnold to Glen Burnie.

Police said the vehicle was being operated without headlights about 5 a.m. when the driver refused to stop for Officer Michael Harper on Ritchie Highway near College Parkway. Police said the driver attempted to hit Harper's cruiser and, minutes later, another driven by Officer Joseph Larkin near Pasadena Road.

The minivan continued north on Ritchie Highway, running several red lights at speeds of 30 to 50 mph, then turned onto several streets before officers -- concerned about snow and slippery conditions -- slowed their pursuit, police said.

On Route 648 in front of the Cromwell light rail station, police said, the driver made a U-turn and, at low speed, collided head-on with a police cruiser. When the driver shifted into reverse and then forward, causing his wheels to spin in the direction of officers Joseph Larkin and Anthony Tortorici, who were out of their vehicles, they fired several shots into the 1993 Dodge Caravan, police said. One bullet hit the driver in the torso, ending the 20-minute chase, police said.

The driver, identified as Martin John Alascio, was listed in critical condition after surgery at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Alascio has several addresses, in Ocean City, Glen Burnie and, most recently, in the 1000 block of Parksley Ave. in Baltimore.

Police said they found nothing in the minivan, or any criminal record, to indicate a reason for Alascio's behavior.

Larkin and Tortorici were placed on routine administrative assignment pending a review of the incident, police said, adding that no officer was injured.

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