Man gets 10-year term for I-95 chase He fled troopers at up to 85 mph

October 31, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

A 34-year-old Catonsville man was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week in Harford Circuit Court for his conviction on 16 charges tied to a 27-mile, high-speed chase along Interstate 95 March 5 during which his car struck three state police cars.

Roberto Rodriguez of the 6100 block of Old Frederick Road was convicted Aug. 25.

The jury deliberated for two hours before finding him guilty on three counts of assault with intent to avoid apprehension, three counts of battery, four counts of assault, four counts of resisting arrest, one count of fleeing and eluding police and one count of driving under the influence.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill merged many of the counts, suspended prison time on others and gave Rodriguez credit for 236 days already served while awaiting trial and sentencing.

Rodriguez, a carpet installer, had testified that he drank beer and cognac for about three hours after class at a Baltimore trade school and could not remember anything about the incident except that "a bunch of guys were beating up on me."

Testimony at the trial indicated Rodriguez was speeding north on I-95 toward Aberdeen in a 1977 Ford van about 7 p.m. when an off-duty state police trooper attempted to stop him.

Rodriguez fled with troopers in pursuit at speeds that reached 85 mph, police said.

Along the way, he veered his vehicle toward several police cruisers and rammed three of them before he was apprehended at gunpoint near the Baltimore County line.

He was nearly captured in Belcamp and, at one point, was driving north in the southbound lanes of I-95, police said.

Witnesses said Rodriguez fought with four troopers trying to remove him from his van.

Later, at Fallston General Hospital, where he was taken to be treated for a cut on his left ear, it took six troopers to subdue him.

Maleah Rodriguez, his wife, said her husband was "a nice guy when he wasn't drinking."

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