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Man who rammed trooper's cruiser gets jail time

April 24, 2001

Man who rammed trooper's cruiser gets jail time



By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A Virginia man who deliberately rammed a Maryland State Police cruiser three times last December in an effort to avoid capture was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to serve 18 months in jail.

On April 10, Charles Brian Johnson, 21, of Midlothian, Va., appeared before Judge Kennedy Boone and pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, fleeing and eluding and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Sentencing was postponed so Boone could have an armed forces recruiter visit Johnson at the county jail. "I'd like to get him in the service," Boone said.

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That apparently failed to materialize so Johnson was back in court Tuesday. Boone sentenced him to three years for the assault on Trooper 1st Class Scott Bare, and suspended all but 18 months.

One-year concurrent sentences were imposed for the other two convictions.

The incident began at 10:15 p.m. on Dec. 2 as Johnson drove his vehicle out of the AC&T service station on Potomac Avenue without his lights on and cut in front of Bare's marked cruiser, court records said.

Johnson fled, reaching speeds of 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, making U-turns and cutting through the South Hagerstown High School parking lot to avoid capture, court records said.

During the chase, Johnson's vehicle reached speeds of 108 mph in a 65 mph zone and three times he rammed Bare's cruiser, finally trapping the officer inside.

Bare wrote a lengthy victim-impact letter which was included in the court file. He also took the opportunity to speak at the April 10 hearing.

"This was the worst chase I've been in during my 15 years as a law enforcement officer," Bare said. "There was a total disregard for anyone on the road that day ... not just me."

Johnson was silent except to apologize to Bare.

The $2,919 to repair the damage to Bare's cruiser was paid by Johnson's mother, according to court records.

Defense attorney Bruce Poole told Boone on April 10 that Johnson had been accepted into the U.S. Army before this happened. "A conviction now would affect that," Poole said.

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