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Man dies in crash trying to flee cops

July 04, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown man wanted on warrants died Tuesday in a single-vehicle crash on White Hall Road after leading Maryland State Police on a chase through Washington County.

Lewis W. Pfeltz, 45, of the 13000 block of Royal Road, was pronounced dead at the scene south of Interstate 70, state police said in a press release. A preliminary investigation showed that Pfeltz's 1992 Honda Prelude struck a tree after he lost control on a turn.

State police reported that Pfeltz was wanted by the Maryland Division of Correction on a parole violation and by the Washington County Sheriff's Office on a felony warrant for drug distribution.

Mark Vernarelli, director of public information for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said Pfeltz was wanted by the Maryland Division of Correction for a technical violation but did not provide details.

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Pfeltz was sentenced to a six-year prison term in 2004 for drug possession and released in January of this year, Vernarelli said. The Maryland Parole Commission issued the warrant for Pfeltz's arrest on the technical violation in May.

A state trooper pulled up behind Pfeltz shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday in Hagerstown and ran a check on his car, according to state police. As the trooper was performing the check, Pfeltz ran a stop sign at the intersection of Downsville Road and South Potomac Street in Hagerstown, state police said.

Pfeltz was pulled over as a result, but state police reported the chase didn't start until he fled the scene as the trooper approached his car on foot.

The chase led into Funkstown, where the trooper reported that Pfeltz was cornered on a dead-end road. Pfeltz escaped after driving toward the trooper's cruiser and ramming it, state police said.

The trooper lost site of Pfeltz, who was spotted later by a Washington County deputy sheriff on U.S. 40 at Beaver Creek Road, state police said. Authorities found Pfeltz when they drove up on the wreckage of his car.

The release stated that rescue units responded, but Pfeltz was dead.

The investigation was continuing Tuesday night.

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