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Five vehicles plowed in truck chase

February 23, 2001

Five vehicles plowed in truck chase



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


An Allegany County man was charged in connection with a Friday morning incident in which a Dodge pickup truck equipped with a snowplow damaged five vehicles before crashing into a wall, Hagerstown City Police said.

Thane Craig Bell, 44, of 12308 Swain Road, Little Orleans, was charged with driving while intoxicated, fleeing and eluding police, reckless driving and five counts of hit and run, police said.

Bell and a woman whose car was one of those hit were injured, police said. Bell was taken to Washington County Hospital shortly after the 10:15 a.m. incident.

The woman had minor cuts from flying glass, police said.

"Salem Avenue looked like a war zone," said Sgt. Mark Holtzman at the scene.

The first vehicle hit was a white Mercury van at the intersection of South Burhans Boulevard and Antietam Street. Bell is believed to have been making a U-turn in the intersection when his truck collided with the van, which was stopped for a red light, police said.

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A witness, Brian Robert Gorman, followed Bell's truck from the scene of the collision while calling police on his cellular telephone, police said.

Bell drove east on Washington Street to Summit Avenue and then west on Franklin Street, police said. Officers Jim Robison and Michael Moats caught up with him at Walnut and Church where a second vehicle had just been hit.

Robison tried to stop Bell at Salem Avenue and Burhans Boulevard but the truck pulled away, police said.

When Robison saw the truck hit a 1997 Ford Thunderbird in the 500 block of Salem Avenue, he broke off the chase, fearing for public safety, police said. The truck continued west on Salem Avenue where it hit two parked cars at Linganore Avenue, police said.

"The operator of the Ford Mustang had just removed her two children from the back seat due to a dead battery," Holtzman said.

After that impact, Bell's truck ran up on the sidewalk and hit a retaining wall in the 700 block of Salem Avenue, police said. The truck became wedged between an embankment and another parked car, breaking a front wheel.

Robison approached the truck and found Bell unconscious behind the wheel, police said.

Officer Richard Moats, who reconstructs accidents for the police department, will handle the follow-up investigation.

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