Chase ends when suspect snarled in traffic

July 14, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

TRI-STATE-A man accused of stealing a $99.99 hedge trimmer from a Chambersburg, Pa., store on Friday was chased by police into Washington County, where a tractor-trailer making a wide turn forced the man to stop, police said.

The chase lasted about 20 minutes and included about 20 police officers, deputies and troopers, Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Andrew Smith said.

Smith said the man led officers from Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania into Maryland, where he avoided a police tire-deflating device by switching to the local streets of Washington County and Hagerstown.

The driver - Lonnie Gore, 55, of 519 W. King St. in Martinsburg, W.Va. - was charged with theft of less than $100, failing to stop for a police officer, negligent driving and reckless driving, according to court documents.


Gore was being held in the Washington County Detention Center on Friday on $3,500 bail.

Charging documents say an assistant manager at Big Lots in Chambersburg reported that a man took a Ryobi brush trimmer from the store and drove away in a Ford Explorer with West Virginia license plates.

A Pennsylvania State Police trooper saw the Explorer near mile marker 7 on I-81 about 12:30 p.m., Smith said.

Maryland State Police heard about the chase and put out a Stop Stick tire-deflation device on I-81, but the vehicle avoided it by exiting onto Maugans Avenue, before the Stop Stick, Smith said.

He said the chase continued from Maugans Avenue to southbound U.S. 11, into the City of Hagerstown, to Burhans Boulevard, then Wesel Boulevard.

Along the way, more police officers joined in.

Smith said there were four Pennsylvania State Police cars, six Maryland State Police cars, including an off-duty trooper, and two Washington County Sheriff's Department cars in on the chase. About eight Hagerstown Police Department officers were involved, too, he said.

Along Wesel Boulevard, Gore and the police officers were traveling at between 50 and 60 mph, Smith said.

At Halfway and Massey boulevards, a tractor-trailer blocked traffic as it made a turn. Gore reached the intersection as the tractor-trailer was turning, forcing him to stop about 12:50 p.m.

"He was a big help," Smith said of the truck driver.

Charging documents say Hagerstown Police Department officers removed Gore from his vehicle, put him on the ground and handcuffed him.

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