New Jersey man is killed in crash after state police chase on Beltway

June 26, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer

A New Jersey man accused of stealing a Pennsylvania motorist's van at knifepoint died early yesterday in a crash with a parked tractor-trailer on the Baltimore Beltway, ending a chase by state police at speeds up to 100 mph.

The wreck, in which a state trooper also was injured, occurred about 11 p.m. Friday on Interstate 695 near Joppa Road in the Lutherville-Brooklandville area.

Four state police cars had converged on the stolen vehicle, which police said was traveling about 100 mph.

Tfc. Frank Mills, a 20-year veteran, struck the suspect's vehicle with his cruiser in an attempt to get the suspect to pull over.

As the two vehicles collided, the suspect lost control of the van, which veered onto the shoulder and crashed into the tractor-trailer, police said.

The van's driver, Russell William Appold Jr., 45, of Lyons, N.J., was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the van.

Trooper Mills' car spun out of control, flipped and landed on its roof.

Trooper Mills, 40, was flown by helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he was treated and released.

Mr. Appold also was flown to Shock Trauma. He was pronounced dead at 12:41 a.m. yesterday.

The truck driver was not hurt.

Ramming a suspect's car is considered a highly unusual and dangerous way to catch a suspect, police said.

"It's a very dangerous maneuver and only used in extreme cases" and under specific circumstances, said Mike McKelvin, a state police spokesman.

The circumstances include: a suspect is eluding police in a speeding vehicle and is either a known felon or is sought in a

recent felony; the suspect is driving erratically at high speed; and no other motorists on the road could be endangered.

Pennsylvania and Maryland State Police said the incident began around 10 p.m. Friday when a 33-year-old Glen Rock, Pa., man picked up Mr. Appold hitchhiking on Interstate 83, about a mile north of the Shrewsbury, Pa., exit.

Mr. Appold threatened the driver with a knife and ordered him to pull over, surrender his money and get out of the blue Dodge Caravan.

The driver suffered a minor cut on his hand, Pennsylvania State Police said.

The driver alerted Pennsylvania police and told them the suspect was driving toward Maryland.

Pennsylvania police notified Maryland State Police and gave them a description of the van and the suspect.

Around 11 p.m., an off-duty state trooper in an unmarked police car saw a vehicle matching the van's description on the Charles Street exit of the Beltway.

As police cruisers took up the chase, the suspect headed back onto the Beltway, traveling west.

He began to pull over, then accelerated to 100 mph, police said.

"Initially it appeared he was going to pull over, but then he just took off," Mr. McKelvin said.

New Jersey and Maryland State Police could not say yesterday if Mr. Appold had a prior record.

There was no phone listing for him in his hometown.

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