Frederick man sentenced in chase case

July 25, 1997


Staff Writer

A Frederick, Md., man who led police on a wild chase through Hagerstown and Interstate 70 last March was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

"It's time to pay the piper," said Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone as he imposed the sentence on Steven Morris Grove, 33.

In addition to the five-year sentence for second-degree assault, Grove was sentenced to two concurrent years in the local jail for fleeing and eluding and driving while revoked.


The remaining charges, including two more counts of assault, three counts of reckless endangerment, traffic offenses and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, were dropped in exchange for the pleas.

"This was outrageous, putting police and citizens in peril," Boone said. "You're not evil, you're a drunk."

Tearfully, Grove said he was sorry and asked for a sentence that would allow him to continue to support his family.

Grove's prior conviction record included several drug possessions in Frederick, two previous fleeing and eluding charges, and prior DWI and revoked offenses.

The incident began March 22 shortly after 11 p.m. at the corner of North and Jonathan streets and ended about 20 minutes later on I-70 near Md. 66, police said.

Deputy State's Attorney Charles Strong said Grove was parked at the corner in a 1984 GMC Jimmy when city officers patrolling the Jonathan Street area in a marked car spotted him.

According to police, Grove's actions led officers to suspect he was driving while impaired, but as they walked up to the vehicle, Grove sped off, Strong said.

The officers pursued him through the North End, nearly running over Hagerstown City Police Officer Brian Hoffman in a convenience store parking lot, Strong said.

Grove then drove onto South Potomac Street to Sharpsburg Pike and onto I-70, Strong said.

As he fled town, Grove drove the wrong way on one-way streets, crossed several residential lawns and attempted to ram some marked city police cars that were pursuing him, police said.

Speeds reached 75 mph going through Public Square, Strong said.

Maryland State Police troopers and Washington County sheriff's deputies joined the pursuit on I-70, where Grove changed directions several times by crossing the median strip, police said.

One state police cruiser was damaged in the pursuit, according to Maryland State Police Cpl. G.L. Barnhart.

Two city police cars were struck on I-70, Strong said.

Defense attorney Mary Riley said Grove's intent wasn't to hurt people but to get away.

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