A trooper was fired yesterday by the Maryland State Police after he was arrested on charges of kidnapping a man in his marked cruiser at a fast-food drive-through, then leading Baltimore County police on a drunken high-speed chase.
The incident unfolded about 2:30 a.m. Saturday at a Taco Bell restaurant at Loch Raven Boulevard and Taylor Avenue in Towson. Witnesses told county police officers that a trooper in plainclothes activated his siren and began yelling at people in the drive-through to get out of the way, according to police charging documents.
The trooper, identified by police as Bruce Anthony Wrzosek, 22, of the 2500 block of Taylor Ave. in Parkville, assaulted several people in a car and then forced one of them, a 20-year-old man, into his cruiser, according to charging documents.
As Wrzosek was getting into his cruiser, a county officer arrived and asked him to park his vehicle, but Wrzosek sped away, charging documents say.
After a brief high-speed chase during which, according to charging documents, the trooper used his lights and sirens to speed through at least one red light, he stopped the vehicle and was arrested by Baltimore County police after failing a field sobriety test. His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.20 percent - more than double the state's legal threshold of 0.08 percent for driving under the influence, according to charging documents.
Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, said Wrzosek had completed the training academy in December 2007. As a recent hire, Wrzosek was in a mandatory two-year probation period with the Maryland State Police and, during that period, certain job-protection rules afforded by the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights do not apply, according to Shipley.
"Obviously, these allegations are very serious and certainly not a part of Maryland State Police traditions," Shipley said. "We certainly don't condone any aspect of this."
Wrzosek had been issued a take-home state police cruiser as part of his assignment working road patrol while based at the Golden Ring barracks in Baltimore County. Shipley said that Wrzosek's last workday before his arrest was Wednesday.
The trooper had been disciplined internally for an incident that occurred in April outside a bar in Canton in Southeast Baltimore, according to Shipley and electronic court documents. Baltimore police officers spotted him and another man drinking on the sidewalk and tried to get them to leave and take a cab, but the trooper is alleged to have begun cursing at the officers, charging documents in that case show.
Wrzosek was accused of disorderly conduct fueled by excessive drinking, possession of an open container and another alcohol-related charge. All three charges were placed on the city District Court's inactive docket after he completed community service and wrote an apology, according to electronic court records and the city state's attorney's office.
Shipley would not say how Wrzosek was disciplined and said it was a personnel matter at the time. He said that the earlier alcohol-related incident did not involve a state police cruiser and had also occurred off duty.
Cpl. Michael Hill, a Baltimore County police spokesman, would not comment on the more recent incident beyond the information contained in the police charging documents.
Those documents allege that after the trooper kidnapped a 20-year-old man, he was pursued by a county police sergeant in a marked cruiser with lights and sirens activated. While speeding on Taylor Avenue, the trooper activated his emergency lights and drove through a red light at Perring Parkway, documents say.
After entering a nearby neighborhood and making several turns, the trooper stopped his cruiser on Tilmont Avenue, near Taylor Avenue; county police officers then conducted a field sobriety test and the trooper made self-incriminating statements to police, according to charging documents. He was arrested at 3:03 a.m., according to police. He subsequently failed a breath test for measuring the level of alcohol in his body, charging documents say.
No one was hurt in the incident, including the 20-year-old man.
Wrzosek was not carrying his service weapon, but he did have his off-duty pistol in the glove box of the cruiser, according to charging documents.
Wrzosek was charged with kidnapping, second-degree assault, false imprisonment and alcohol-related traffic violations. He was being held on $500,000 bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.
The attorney who represented Wrzosek in his earlier alcohol-related arrest could not be reached.