Man survives dive off Patuxent bridge Police chased suspect through 2 counties.

July 23, 1992|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A complaint about a loud car radio led to a chase early today that ended with a spectacular high dive from the top of the Gov. Thomas Johnson bridge over the Patuxent River.

Timothy Kenneth Hoofnagle, 28, of Lusby, Calvert County, was in fair condition with no serious injuries at the Washington Hospital Center trauma unit.

Maryland State Police and sheriff's deputies in St. Mary's County said that on release from the hospital Mr. Hoofnagle would be charged with offenses: possession of marijuana, driving while his license is suspended or revoked, eluding police, and traffic violations.

"It's a pretty high bridge, more than 100 feet," said State Police Sgt. Stephen F. Vail. "We've had people commit suicide off that bridge."

The incident began with a St. Mary's County sheriff's deputy answering a complaint about a loud car radio at 3 a.m. at Md. 237, at Great Mills.

The red 1980 Chevrolet Chevette took off heading generally north to Md. 235, near Md. 4, where two state police cruisers joined the chase. They attempted a rolling roadblock to surround the car, but it rammed one of the state police cars and broke free, driving at 75 to 80 mph.

The sheriff's car rammed the Chevette, Sergeant Vail said, sending it spinning three times until the driver recovered and sped on to the two-lane bridge.

The police cars surrounded the car on the bridge, but the driver stopped and jumped off, Sergeant Vail said.

He swam about a quarter-mile to the St. Mary's County shore, where a K-9 officer was awaiting him.

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