Did cops have other options in I-95 chase?I've read two...

the Forum

November 16, 1993

Did cops have other options in I-95 chase?

I've read two articles regarding the high-speed chase that occurred on southbound I-95 on Oct. 29. Both articles commented on the distance covered, the injuries received, the number of accidents as a result and the fact that the driver was in a stolen vehicle and refused to pay the toll.

Together the articles also mentioned the fact that speeds peaked at 85 miles-per-hour and that two attempts by the Maryland State Police to establish rolling road blocks failed because the driver rammed the back of the police cruisers.

What the articles didn't mention is the fact that a total of 20 -- yes, 20 -- state police and toll facility vehicles ended up at the point on I-895, where the chase ended.

I know this because I counted them as I drove past. It was one of those times that a camera would have produced a picture worth a thousand words.

I was also several cars behind the vehicle [rear-ended by the fleeing pickup truck] that Heidi and Savanah Meginnes occupied. I saw Ms. Meginnes reach into the back of her car and pick [her injured, four-week-old daughter] Savanah up in her arms, in the right lane of I-895.

I was in that lane as state troopers and toll facility officers drove down the emergency lane and down the center white line while morning motorists tried to decide what they should do.

Drivers couldn't pull onto the shoulder because emergency vehicles were everywhere. In essence, troopers and toll facility officers turned a highway into a bumper car event.

The concern going through my mind as to what on earth I might be coming upon was great. I didn't know if it could be a massive car crash, a drug seize or a shootout.

These ideas may seem far-fetched, but at 9:45 a.m. when I looked into my rear view mirror and saw about six to eight vehicles with flashing lights approaching very fast, I didn't know what else to think.

About 30 seconds later, another six or more were in my mirror. Another four vehicles even went in the opposite direction on the other side of the median strip. Who knows where they ended up.

Several other vehicles arrived alone, including an unmarked blue state police cruiser. Did I mention the helicopter?

Obviously the driver was looking for some action. Why? Because he could have easily paid the toll and no one would have known the truck was stolen.

Instead he did as he was instructed and pulled off to the side. Only when the officer was approaching did the driver draw attention to himself by speeding off.

That should have set off alarm bells. At the point that the driver rammed into the first police cruiser, something entirely different should have been attempted.

It seems to me that due to the fact that the driver didn't appear to care what laws he broke, how many people he may have injured and how many vehicles were damaged, he should have been treated as a time bomb and handled very delicately.

By delicately I do not mean continuing a high-speed chase involving so many vehicles on a busy interstate during the morning commute.

I can't believe the state police and toll facility officers had no other options.

Janet L. Thomson

Parkville

Crime is the norm

Having lived in Baltimore and its environs most of my life -- the early part in complete safety -- it is difficult for me to understand what is happening in the city I love.

Gangs, rape and murder seem to be the norm today. The Evening Sun quotes Burnie Edwards saying he has counted as many as 300 drug transactions in one day, in his neighborhood, as well as free samples given away once a month.

If this is a fact, why are the police not arresting the dealers? Families are living in terror, and children, often the victims, are locked in their houses, afraid to play in the streets.

At this date, 300 people have been murdered in Baltimore, many of them children.

Perhaps we could borrow some of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's troopers when they are not too busy guarding him, walking his dog or taxiing Hilda Mae Snoops on her errands as "First Friend."

Maud Dulaney Jones

Owings Mills

Lawyers

When his malpractice suit was first reported in the media, Neil Solomon resorted to good old-fashioned lawyer bashing as a defense. He claimed that these charges were groundless and brought against him by an unscrupulous attorney.

Now we find that the unscrupulous professional is not the attorney but the doctor.

It is unfortunate that there was that period, before all the revelations came out, that so many persons in and out of the media were ready to agree with the former doctor and sympathize with his plight and castigate the attorney.

I have yet to see any acknowledgment that perhaps without the intervention of a law-suit brought about by an attorney, none of the improprieties would have come to light and Neil Solomon would still be doing business as usual with his female patients.

R. Ronald Brockmeyer

Baltimore

End violence in our lives

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