Woman charged in chase that left 2 officers hurt

February 02, 2007|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,sun reporter

Ophelia Smalls was found guilty Monday of stealing a car in November, given an 18-month suspended sentence and walked out of a Baltimore District Courthouse owing $307.50 in court fees and restitution, court records show.

Two days later, police allege that she got behind the wheel of another stolen car. Police said she was driving erratically on East North Avenue when she attracted the attention of a city patrol officer in his cruiser, triggering a chaotic series of events that ultimately left two officers hospitalized.

Police said that Smalls, 22, refused to stop for police as they tried to pull her over. As police followed the car, an officer saw the woman reach under her seat, and he feared she had a gun. When the car crashed several blocks away on East North Avenue, near Gay Street, officers approached the car with guns drawn.

Officer Claude Torres accidentally shot Officer David Hare Jr., but the bullet lodged in the officer's bullet-resistant vest. As paramedics rushed Hare to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Officer Wali Salaam used his prisoner transport wagon to block traffic and clear a path for the ambulance. But a car smashed into the side of Salaam's van, tipping it over. Hare and Salaam suffered minor injuries.

Smalls, of the 3600 block of Chesterfield Ave., was charged with stolen auto, reckless driving, possession of a deadly weapon (a knife), resisting arrest, fleeing and eluding and driving with a suspended license.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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