Chase ends in crash, charges

November 13, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION and BRIAN SHAPPELL

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A police chase ended when a motorist crashed his car into the end of a bridge leading into Maryland along U.S. 340 Tuesday night, said a Charles Town Police Department spokesman.

Brian Keller, 19, of 2702 Winchester Ave., Martinsburg, W.Va., was treated at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., after the crash and released, said Sgt. Brandon Ray.

A passenger in the Pontiac Grand Prix was flown to another hospital, but Ray said he did not know the person's name or his condition.

Keller was charged with numerous offenses including reckless driving, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and fleeing in a vehicle, Ray said.


The pursuit started after 10 p.m. when a city police officer stopped Keller for a traffic violation at the intersection of Liberty and West streets, Ray said.

When the officer stepped out of his cruiser, Keller drove away, Ray said.

The chase proceeded east on Washington Street and onto U.S. 340, Ray said. The pursuit continued across the Shenandoah River Bridge and to the second bridge across the Potomac River, where Keller's car crashed into the end of the bridge, Ray said.

The traffic backup on the Maryland side of the bridge exceeded two miles at midnight.

Sam Vassallo, who was stuck in the traffic jam on the bridge, said he saw the chase as it ended. Vassallo said he saw police cruisers coming down the mountain, on the Virginia side of the bridge, behind the Pontiac.

Vassallo said he stopped his car midway through the bridge because he saw a cluster of cars with blaring police sirens heading toward the bridge in a hurry.

"There were a string of troopers behind him - They were on him like white on rice," Vassallo said. "It was like a scene out of a cop show."

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