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Hagerstown man pleads guilty to drug charge, fleeing and eluding

Judge hands down sentence of three years with all but 15 months suspended

September 24, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man who led police on a car chase through downtown in January pleaded guilty Monday in Washington County Circuit Court to possession of drug paraphernalia and fleeing and eluding police.

Matthew Herman Hunt Jr., 39, of 19 S. Burhans Blvd., was sentenced by Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley to three years in state prison, with all but 15 months suspended. Beachley ordered the sentence to be served in the Washington County Detention Center.

Nine other charges, including two counts of second-degree assault and a number of traffic violations, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Hunt, who will be on probation for 2 1/2 years after his release, was ordered to pay $3,434.36 in restitution to the City of Hagerstown for damage to police cruisers during the Jan. 24 pursuit.

Reading from the statement of facts, Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Kessell said an officer on patrol tried to pull over a Saturn with an inoperable brake light at Charles and Potomac streets. At one point, the driver pulled over, but when the officer got out of his cruiser, the driver sped away, Kessell said.

The pursuit along downtown streets continued for about 15 minutes, with other city police, Maryland State Police and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies joining, Hagerstown Police said at the time of Hunt’s arrest.

Kessell said Hunt led police the wrong way on one-way streets several times during the chase.

Police reported at the time that the vehicle Hunt was driving struck two police cars. He eventually stopped the car and ran, police said.

Hunt ran through the Dagmar Hotel on Summit Avenue and went out through the back of the building, Kessell said. He was found hiding under a stairway behind the hotel, and a stun gun was used to subdue him before he was taken into custody, Kessell said.

When Hunt was searched, a crack pipe and a syringe were found, Kessell said. Hunt had two outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest, Kessell said.

“All he did was take the hole he was standing in and make it a lot deeper,” Assistant Public Defender Amy Taylor-Heimberg told Beachley.

At the time of the incident, Hunt’s outstanding warrants were for minor probation violations, she said.
Hunt is scheduled for violation hearings in November and December, including one for a 2009 conviction for attempted distribution of narcotics.

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