2 Ranking Officers During Chase Charged With Violations

January 27, 1992|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

A county police captain and sergeant have been charged with violating departmental policy during a high-speed chase in July in which officers threw fire extinguishers and flares from bridge overpasses into the truck of the fleeing driver.

Police spokesman Officer V. Richard Molloy confirmed the charges, saying the captain and sergeant wereranking officers during the July 24 chase, which lasted an hour and 45 minutes and covered 120 miles.

Capt. Richard Smith, who heads the Criminal Investigation Division, and Sgt. William Darner of the Western District were the ranking officers during the chase, police confirmed last month.

Molloy refused to say what the charges against the officers are.

During the chase, officers positioned themselves on bridge overpasses along Route3 and threw fire extinguishers and flares at a pick-up truck driven by Edward Thomas Crenshaw of Glen Burnie.

A patrolman from the Northern District station was charged with using excessive force while arresting Crenshaw of the 400 block of Elwell Court in Glen Burnie, Molloy said.

That charge came after police received anonymous reports that an officer beat Crenshaw with a flashlight after the chase ended in front of Crenshaw's Elwell Court home.

As many as 46 police cars and a state police helicopter were involved in the chase, which began when Crenshaw's wife, Dana, called police at about midnight, saying that her husband had been drinking all day and had threatened her with a gun. She later denied that he had threatened her.

After an officer spotted Crenshaw near his Elwell Court home, Crenshaw refused to stop his Ford truck and led police through the county and up tothe Harbor Tunnel. The chase went as far south as Benfield Boulevard.

Two officers were injured during the chase when they tried to force Crenshaw's pick-up truck to stop outside the tunnel and the truckrammed a police cruiser.

Lt. Michael Birmingham, another ranking officer involved in the chase, was not charged, Molloy said. Birmingham spent most of the night at Maryland Shock Trauma Center with the injured officers, Molloy said.

All three men charged will remain intheir jobs and could face administrative hearings in about two months, Molloy said. If they are found guilty, Chief Robert Russell would decide on disciplinary action.

The officers have the option of waiving their right to a hearing and instead accepting automatic disciplinary action from Russell.

Crenshaw goes to trial next month in Circuit Court on four counts of assault with intent to murder, four counts of destruction of property and 11 traffic violations.

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