A juvenile burglary suspect was recently arrested after allegedly attempting to jump off of a bridge in an attempt to flee from police. According to reports, law enforcement officers in Virginia located a stolen vehicle that was linked to multiple Maryland burglaries in Prince George’s County. Police pursued the vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but were unsuccessful. Officers even deployed a tire deflation device that resulted in vehicle losing a tire, but it kept driving, albeit at a much slower speed. Additional officers responded and attempted to box the vehicle in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on Interstate 495, which connects Alexandria, Virginia to the Oxon Hill area of Prince George’s County. The driver of the suspect vehicle then jumped out as it was still moving, and then bolted for the railing of the bridge. A Virginia State Trooper apparently grabbed the 17-year-old defendant just as he was about to plunge into the 50-degree water. Reports do not indicate exactly where the juvenile attempted to jump, but the drop could have been as much as 70 feet into the cold and fast-moving water. Had the suspect jumped, his chances of survival would definitely have been in doubt, so it’s safe to say the Trooper saved a life.
The suspect was a juvenile, and therefore we are not able to uncover additional information about his place of residence or criminal history. What we do know is he is now facing felony charges of eluding police in Virginia juvenile court, as well as possible burglary and robbery charges in Maryland. There may also be charges for motor vehicle theft at some point down the road. The 16-year-old defendant was detained but does not appear to have been charged with any offense related to the fleeing and eluding. All juvenile cases are sealed from public view, so it will be difficult to track the progress of this particular case, but the Blog will post a follow up article if anything comes out of the Maryland courts.
Virginia has especially tough traffic laws, so it’s no surprise that the teen suspect was charged with a felony. In Maryland, fleeing or eluding police is part of the traffic code and not classified as a felony. There is no such crime as aggravated fleeing or felony fleeing in Maryland, but the punishment upon conviction can still be harsh. Anyone convicted of fleeing or eluding under §21-904 of the transportation article faces up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. A second offense raises the maximum penalty to 2 years, and if the act causes bodily injury the maximum is 3 years. If fleeing from law enforcement causes a death the penalty jumps to 10 years in prison. In addition, anyone convicted of this offense will receive 12 points and face revocation of their Maryland driver’s license. Fleeing and eluding is a drastically overcharged offense, and we have seen dozens of cases where defendants simply did not pull over quickly enough for an officer’s liking. Law enforcement officers have a tendency to take it personally when a driver does not pull over immediately, but sometimes it just takes time to process the fact that you’re being pulled over.
If you have been charged with fleeing or eluding or any other offense it is imperative to retain an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer. Benjamin Herbst specializes in charges for fleeing and eluding, burglary, robbery and motor vehicle theft, and also has extensive experience and success representing juveniles. He is available 7 days a week for a free consultation at 410-207-2598.