Police chase ends in driver's death

Speeding car hits rig and bursts into flames

passenger hurt

November 11, 2005|By A SUN REPORTER

A driver sped away from a state trooper after being stopped in Cecil County yesterday and eluded police in three pursuits - reaching speeds in excess of 125 mph before his car slammed into the back of a flatbed tractor-trailer rig loaded with cinder blocks and burst into flames, authorities said.

The driver died, his passenger was injured, and inside the trunk of the smashed 1997 Ford Crown Victoria, police reported finding hundreds of bulk-packaged pirated compact discs and digital video discs.

Police said the incident began shortly after 10 a.m. when a Kennedy Highway trooper stopped the car he had spotted traveling at 80 mph - 15 mph over the limit - and following other vehicles too closely on southbound Interstate 95 near the Chesapeake House service area.

As the trooper walked toward the North Carolina-registered sedan, the driver sped away. Other troopers took up the first of the sporadic pursuits that covered about 30 miles on several area roads and ended with the crash nearly 40 minutes later at U.S. 40 and Route 222, police said.

Based on witness accounts, police said the car's driver went around other vehicles that were stopped at a red light and hit the back of the flatbed rig that was turning at the intersection.

The name of the dead driver was withheld. The passenger, identified as Erster D. Hatch, 25, of Newport News, Va., was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and listed last night in serious condition.

In addition to the pirated CDs and DVDs, police said, they found several master copies in the trunk and that the case remained under investigation.

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