Baltimore man who led police on chase is sentenced to five years

September 15, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |

A Baltimore man who led authorities on a high-speed chase that ended when the car he was driving crashed near the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in February was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley sentenced Gary Silas Wingate Jr., 24, to serve five years for illegal possession of a regulated firearm and one year for fleeing and eluding police. Beachley ordered that the sentences run concurrently, meaning Wingate will serve five years.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Leon Debes said during the proceedings in the Hagerstown court that prosecutors would ask for a "flat" five-year sentence in exchange for Wingate pleading guilty to both charges.

The chase began just before 10 a.m. on Feb. 17, when Wingate sped off in a late-model Mercury Cougar after he was pulled over by West Virginia State Police on Interstate 81 in Berkeley County, police said at the time.

Maryland authorities picked up the chase when the car crossed the state line at a high rate of speed.

Maryland State Police Cpl. A. Shusko said in February that troopers pursued the car from I-81 onto Interstate 70 East, then followed it as it turned onto Downsville Pike (Md. 632).

The chase continued through Downsville, where police set up "stop sticks" to puncture the tires, troopers said. Air slowly leaked from two of the tires as the pursuit continued onto Dam No. 4 Road.

Shusko said Wingate tried to pass a state police cruiser that pulled in front of him, but he lost control when the two vehicles collided.

The car Wingate was driving crashed into a clump of trees near the dam.

Police said Wingate was captured at about 10:20 a.m. at the scene and taken to Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown to be treated for minor injuries.

A loaded .357-caliber Astra revolver was found under the driver's seat of the Cougar, troopers said.

The Cougar and the state police cruiser that was involved in the collision were towed from the scene.

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