Officer chasing car-theft suspect is knocked down, suffers head injury

April 05, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

A Maryland Transportation Authority police officer suffered a head injury yesterday when he was knocked to the pavement by a man he was chasing from a stolen car at the Fort McHenry toll plaza, police said.

Officer Charles Spinks, 30, was listed in fair and stable condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The suspect he was chasing, along with another man who had been in the stolen car, were both in custody last night pending criminal charges, police said.

In a bizarre coincidence, both men later attempted to hang themselves in their respective cells at the Transportation Authority's Fort McHenry station lockup, police said. One was not injured and the other was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The incident at the toll plaza occurred about 2:30 p.m. amid heavy traffic before yesterday's Opening Day game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Two men in a 1993 Oldsmobile stopped at one of the northbound toll booths and told the collector they didn't have the $1 toll, said Tom Freburger, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority police.

Both men then bolted from the car, running in different directions, Mr. Freburger said. One of the men was captured almost immediately by MTA police while Officer Spinks chased the other across the roadway.

As Officer Spinks, an eight-year veteran, drew nearer to the suspect, the man turned and shoved him, Mr. Freburger said. The officer fell backward and struck his head on the pavement, he said.

The suspect ran off but was caught on Haven Street near the Canton railroad yard, police said.

Investigators were trying to determine the identity of the two suspects last night. The car they were driving had been stolen from National Car Rental, which reported it missing from its fleet, Mr. Freburger said.

Shortly after the men were arrested and brought to the lockup, they attempted to hang themselves with pieces of their own clothing, Mr. Freburger said. The condition of the man taken to shock trauma was unknown, Mr. Freburger said.

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