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3-state chase ends with jump threat thwarted

June 29, 2008

FREDERICK, Md. - A chase that began Saturday morning in Frederick County continued through three states before Maryland State Police troopers stopped the driver from jumping off a bridge, according to a press release from Maryland State Police in Frederick.

"He wouldn't have made it," Cpl. R. Bosley said of Alexander Vranes, 53, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va. The fall would have been 80 feet or more into about 3 feet of water strewn with rocks, she said.

Vranes was taken into custody at the end of the chase, which began at 8:25 a.m. when a Frederick County Sheriff's Department deputy attempted to stop a Mazda Protege with stolen tags, police said. The tags had been reported stolen in Charles Town, W.Va., police said.

Vranes did not stop and fled on New Design Road in Frederick, then onto Elmer Derr Road and Ballenger Creek Pike, where troopers joined the chase, police said.

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Trooper 1st Class H. Leggett put out stop sticks at the intersection of Ballenger Creek Pike and Mountville Road, but the car swerved around them and onto Mountville Road, police said. At U.S. 15 and Mountville Road, Trooper First Class R. North tried to use stop sticks, but the car avoided them and continued on Mountville Road and onto U.S. 340, police said.

At U.S. 340 and Catholic Church Road, the car again avoided stop sticks and continued west into Washington County. The car continued into Virginia and the Trooper 3 helicopter joined the pursuit, police said.

Troopers followed the car onto Va. 671, then onto Sagle Road and into Jefferson County, W.Va., on W.Va. 9, police said.

At a bridge spanning the Shenandoah River, Vranes stopped the car, got out and ran toward the bridge, police said. Vranes was trying to jump off the bridge when Trooper First Class J. Hite got hold of him along with North and Leggett, Cpl. R. Bosley said.

Vranes was undergoing a medical evaluation, Bosley said.

In a nutshell

A police pursuit that started in Frederick, Md., went into West Virginia and Virginia. The driver ran toward a bridge spanning the Shenandoah River, but police grabbed him before he jumped.

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