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Man dives out of moving police cruiser

December 18, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A shackled and handcuffed man who was being driven in a police cruiser to the Washington County Sheriff's Department Friday afternoon on U.S. 40 near Devonshire Road kicked out the back-seat window of the moving cruiser, dived into traffic and ran to a nearby house, where he hid in a basement closet until police closed in on him, Deputy 1st Class Annette Sprecher said.

Donald Eugene Rowe, 38, whose address is unknown, was arrested about 1:30 p.m. by Sheriff's Department deputies on an outstanding warrant charging him with failure to pay child support, she said. He was doing roofing work at a home in the 18800 block of Preston Road in Fountain Head when deputies arrived on an anonymous tip to arrest him, she said.

Cpl. Jim Cooper said that four deputies, Sprecher, Deputy 1st Class Valerie Buskirk, Deputy 1st Class Robert Waugh and Deputy 1st Class Michael Gladhill, went to the house because the man has been known to struggle with police.

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"He was on the roof working and jumped off," Sprecher said. The man started running, but was tackled by the deputies, she said. During a struggle, Rowe kicked Buskirk in the stomach, bit Gladhill's finger, struck Sprecher in the nose and struck Waugh in the upper body, she said in a written release.

Sprecher and Buskirk then drove the man, who was handcuffed and shackled in the back seat of the cruiser, toward the Sheriff's Department. They were on West Franklin Street near Devonshire Road when Rowe began kicking the door of the cruiser, which was moving between 30 and 40 mph, she said.

"He busted out the window and dove out," she said. "There was a car right behind me and I thought he was run over."

Sprecher said that she circled the cruiser back around and didn't see him, but soon learned that he had climbed the fence to a house in the 100 block of Devonshire Road. She said that he went into the back entrance of the home and "locked himself in the basement in a closet."

Cooper said that a woman was inside the house in the shower when Rowe entered the Devonshire Road home. Sprecher said that the woman soon got out of the house with her dogs. The woman at first thought it was her brother who entered the house, she said.

Deputies found Rowe in the basement closet and took him into custody, Sprecher said.

He was served with a Sheriff's Department warrant charging him with failure to pay child support and a Maryland State Police warrant charging him with failure to appear in court. He was charged with four counts of second-degree assault, resisting arrest, five counts of malicious destruction of property, escape and fourth-degree burglary, she said in a written release.

Sprecher said in the release that the cruiser door sustained about $1,000 worth of damages.

Rowe was treated at Washington County Hospital for injuries sustained during the dive out of the moving cruiser, Sprecher said in the written release.

He was treated at the hospital and later released, a hospital spokeswoman said Friday night.

Rowe was being held in the Washington County Detention Center Friday night on $300,000 bond, a jail spokesman said.

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