Off-duty Police Officer Stabbed On I-70 After Dispute With Driver

November 28, 1990|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff writer

County police have charged a Union Bridge man with assault with intent to murder after he allegedly stabbed an off-duty Laurel police officer nine times Sunday during a roadside argument on Interstate 70, court records said.

Police detectives are asking anyone who witnessed the argument, which occurred during heavy traffic, to notify them with additional information.

The police officer, Joseph Thomas Jr., 30, was released Monday from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after being treated for stab wounds to the back, thigh, arms and hand. He was originally admitted in critical condition.

Charged in the assault is Ronald D. Thomas, 33, of the 11000 block of Arlington Mill Road, who police said became involved in an argument with the officer at 7:40 p.m. along I-70 near Route 97.

Ronald Thomas has also been charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, assault with intent to maim, and assault and battery. He was released from the Howard County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.

Court charging papers say that Joseph Thomas, who is no relation to Ronald Thomas, was riding west on his motorcycle when he noticed that a pickup truck was following closely behind him with its bright headlights on.

Joseph Thomas was in the center lane but was unable to change lanes because of heavy traffic, the court papers said.

The truck following behind him, operated by Ronald Thomas, passed the motorcycle on the left but was still partially in the center lane, police said. The motorcyclist had to move sharply to the right to avoid a collision and almost lost control, police said.

Court records say the motorcycle skidded to a stop on the road shoulder.

The pickup truck also pulled over. Joseph Thomas' wife and two children, who were traveling in a car a short distance ahead of the motorcycle, also pulled off on the shoulder, police said.

Ronald Thomas left the truck and approached Joseph Thomas, who asked the truck driver why he was operating in a reckless manner, court records said.

According to the court records, Ronald Thomas then became irate and "got up in Joseph Thomas' face," after which the off-duty officer identified himself as a police officer and flashed his police badge.

The officer said he smelled an odor of alcohol on the truck driver's breath and informed him that he could be arrested for driving while intoxicated, court records said.

"Ronald Thomas replied that he didn't care who Joseph Thomas was and reached into his back pocket. Joseph Thomas, fearing for his safety, pulled a handgun from his jacket and displayed it to Ronald Thomas," the court records naid.

A struggle began between the two men and Ronald Thomas repeatedly stabbed the off-duty officer with a folding buck knife, police said. The weapon was knocked away during the struggle and was later recovered in grass along the roadway.

Ronald Thomas suffered minor cuts in the struggle and ran from the area to a nearby house, where the residents notified police and the hospital after viewing his injuries, police said.

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