Sheffler pleads guilty in chase case

June 06, 1997


Staff Writer

A Waynesboro, Pa., man on Thursday pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a 1996 incident in which he was wounded by one of eight shots fired by Smithsburg Police Chief Tom Bowers.

Richard Sheffler, 30, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree assault, driving while intoxicated and fleeing and eluding the police.

He was sentenced to five years on the charges, with all but 18 months of the sentence suspended.

As part of his sentence, Sheffler, of the 300 block of West Sixth Street, also must go through the Jail Substance Abuse Program.

Upon release from the center, Sheffler will be placed on two years of unsupervised probation.

The remaining seven charges against him, which included first-degree assault, malicious destruction of property totaling more than $300, three counts of speeding and two counts of reckless and negligent driving, were dropped.


The charges stem from an incident on Nov. 10, 1996, in which Sheffler led police on a high-speed chase on Md. 491.

After pursuing him from Leitersburg Pike into Pennsylvania on Pa. 16, Maryland State Police Trooper Ronald R. Coccodrilli, 35, and a Washington Township, Pa., police officer approached Sheffler's car, which had spun on the wet road and stopped with its lights off near Fort Ritchie, police said.

Police said Sheffler shifted his car's gear to reverse, pressed the accelerator and banged the township cruiser in back of him. He shifted gears again and drove forward toward Bowers, who was walking in front of the car, police said.

Bowers fell and, to avoid being run over, he pointed his gun toward the oncoming car and fired shots, Bowers said. One bullet went through the car door and struck Sheffler in the lower right leg, he said.

Despite the wound, police said, Sheffler continued driving toward Maryland until he encountered another Maryland trooper blocking the road. He then stopped his car and surrendered, police said.

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