46 police cars led on 105-minute chase Arundel man held on assault charges

July 24, 1991|By Kris Antonelli and Peter Hermann

It was the message she left on the family answering machine that apparently set off Edward Thomas Crenshaw, his wife said yesterday. She was done with the fighting and wanted to "get away for a while." She would call when she was ready to talk.

"He said he didn't want to be without us," Dana Crenshaw, who had packed up herself and her daughter and gone to her in-laws, said in a telephone interview. "It seems like he wanted the police to finish him."

Mr. Crenshaw, 22, of Brooklyn Park was arrested early yesterday after leading Anne Arundel County police on an hour and 45-minute chase that wound through most of the northern part of the county and twice through the Harbor Tunnel -- at speeds up to 90 mph -- before he was arrested near his home.

He was ordered held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on $25,000 bond yesterday, charged with four counts of assault with intent to murder, four counts of destruction of property and 11 motor vehicle citations.

Mrs. Crenshaw, who called The Sun late yesterday, said she and her husband had been fighting earlier in the day. "Once his fuse is lit, I know to get away from him," she said.

She said she left and went to her in-laws in the 400 block of `` Elwell Court in Glen Burnie with their 15-month-old daughter. "That's where he came looking for us."

The chase, which eventually involved 46 police cars and a state police helicopter, started shortly after midnight, when Officer David Smith spotted Mr. Crenshaw in his 1987 Ford Ranger a few blocks from the home.

Anne Arundel police said they had received calls from Mrs. Crenshaw as well as neighbors.

One neighbor complained about a truck driving recklessly across lawns in the 400 block of Elwell Court.

Three minutes later, Mr. Crenshaw's wife called 911 from her in-laws' house and said she had been threatened.

Police said the woman told them her husband had been drinking all day, had a gun and gave her a choice of being beaten or shot. Mrs. Crenshaw said last night that she had called police, but denied reports that her husband had threatened her with the gun.

Police say Mr. Crenshaw drove away, but was quickly spotted by Officer Smith, who attempted to pull him over.

Mr. Crenshaw ignored Officer Smith and sped north on Interstate 97, zigzagging through Glen Burnie via Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, Ritchie Highway and the Harbor Tunnel Thruway.

Two other officers, Paul Deinlein and William Krampf, joined the chase. An Anne Arundel police spokesman, Lt. Michael Fitzgibbons, said Officer Deinlein pulled up on the right side of Mr. Crenshaw's truck in an attempt to ease him to the side of the road.

Mr. Crenshaw allegedly turned his pickup truck into the officer's car. Officer Deinlein swerved left, hit a cement barrier and spun into Officer Krampf's car, Lieutenant Fitzgibbons said.

The officers were taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, )) where they were treated for neck and back injuries.

Mr. Crenshaw's truck continued on to the tunnel. Police said he coasted through the toll booth, paying his $1 fee. Inside the tunnel, the truck rammed a Toll Facilities police car that was straddling the center line in an effort to block the road. It struck the officer's car five times and pushed by, the lieutenant said.

At the northern end of the tunnel, police said, Mr. Crenshaw's truck made a U-turn and nearly ran down another toll officer who had walked over to help, then headed back south again through the tunnel.

By 12:30 a.m., Mr. Crenshaw's truck was back on I-97 and rammed another Toll Facilities car. County police asked for assistance from a state police helicopter.

Police said Mr. Crenshaw toured the county on his way back to his parents' house, taking Route 32 in Odenton back to I-97 to Route 100 to the Marley Station mall. At 1:30 a.m., police said, the truck rear-ended a car driven by a motorist who had pulled over to get out of the way. The motorist was uninjured.

Lieutenant Fitzgibbons said county officers set up dozens of blockades, using almost 38 officers, but could not stop Mr. Crenshaw.

At 1:44 a.m., Mr. Crenshaw led the chase back to Elwell Court, where he was surrounded and arrested without incident, police said. A neighbor, Kevin Knotts, 14, said he looked outside his home and saw the pickup truck encircled by eight to 10 cruisers, with officers crouched behind them.

Mr. Crenshaw had been a mechanic at the Sears Automotive Center in Glen Burnie. A man at the auto shop said Mr. Crenshaw left the job Monday. No one at his parents' house would comment. A man who answered the door referred all questions to the police.

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