An unidentified man driving a car with North Carolina plates was shot and killed by state transportation authority police near the Fort McHenry Tunnel toll plaza yesterday afternoon after refusing to pull over for speeding near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Transportation authority police were releasing few details of the incident last night - including how many times the man was shot and whether more than one officer fired a weapon.
Investigators would not say last night if the man was armed or what, if anything, was found in the Mazda when it was searched.
A spokesman said the white male driver of the silver, four-door Mazda was shot about 3:10 p.m. while approaching the tunnel toll plaza on Interstate 95. Television news footage of the vehicle showed a bullet hole through the windshield.
At 4:22 p.m., the driver was declared dead at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center on Eastern Avenue, police said.
Four northbound lanes of the tunnel were blocked approaching the toll booths, causing traffic on the heavily traveled interstate to back up for more than three miles during the evening rush hour.
Cpl. Gregory Prioleau, a spokesman for the transportation authority police, said the incident began about 3 p.m. when officers using radar attempted to stop a Mazda allegedly traveling 51 mph in a 25-mph zone on Interstate 195 near BWI.
When the Mazda would not pull over, police went after it with sirens on and lights flashing, according to Prioleau, who said the car then traveled toward the airport, entered the terminal, left the terminal and sped onto northbound I-95.
On I-95, a second transportation police officer joined the pursuit, which lasted about eight miles.
Prioleau said the Mazda gained speeds of 65 mph and was weaving in and out of traffic before going through the left tube of the northbound Fort McHenry tunnel.
Officer's radio message
During the pursuit, one of the officers radioed to another that it appeared that the driver was reaching under his seat for something.
This exchange was broadcast over the police radio.
As the Mazda approached the toll plaza, Prioleau said, several officers on foot tried to get it to stop and the vehicle accelerated.
At this point, the spokesman said, police fired "multiple shots" into the Mazda.
After the Mazda left the booth, Prioleau said, officers threw sticks imbedded with spikes under its wheels to puncture the tires.
The car then hit two vehicles, one a police car and the other belonging to a civilian, before stopping.
The driver was rushed by ambulance to Hopkins Bayview.
The dead man's Mazda was towed from the scene with significant damage to its front left quarter panel.
No other police involved
Transportation authority police said that no other law enforcement agencies participated in the incident but that the Maryland State Police crime laboratory was assisting.
The agency's jurisdiction covers the stretch of highway from the airport to the Fort McHenry Tunnel.
Traffic along the northbound lanes was moving smoothly by about 6 p.m.
Transportation authority police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 410-633-1046.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.