Po­lice chase leads to as­sault charges

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— A Ce­cil County grand jury has handed up a seven-count in­dict­ment against a Ris­ing Sun man ac­cused of lead­ing two Per­ryville Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cers on a chase last month and de­lib­er­ately ram­ming their cruis­ers, caus­ing heavy dam­age.

The de­fen­dant, Ti­mothy Michael John­son, 24, of the 100 block of Al­go­nquin Drive, is charged with two counts each of first-de­gree as­sault, sec­ond-de­gree as­sault and at­tempted sec­ond-de­gree as­sault on a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer, ac­cord­ing to Cc­cil County Cir­cuit Court records.

John­son also is charged with at­tempt by a driver to elude uni­formed po­lice by fail­ing to stop, court records show.

The in­dict­ment against John­son was made pub­lic late Thurs­day, when a judge lifted its se­cret sta­tus and un­sealed the doc­u­ment.

John­son, who was

ELK­TON

ar­rested on April 6 and ar­raigned on Tues­day, re­mained in the Ce­cil County De­ten­tion Cen­ter in lieu of $200,000 bond on Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to court records.

The in­ci­dent started about 8 p.m. March 10 when PPD Cpl. Robert Nitz at­tempted to stop a sil­ver Honda Ac­cord on Route 222 be­cause the sus­pect — later iden­ti­fied as John­son — was driv­ing the ve­hi­cle er­rat­i­cally, po­lice re­ported.

Af­ter the sus­pect failed to stop for Nitz on Route 222, the chase went from east­bound West Pu­laski High­way to Coudon Boule­vard and then through the Per­ryville Branch Li­brary park­ing lot, be­fore re­turn­ing to Pu­laski High­way, po­lice said.

Af­ter turn­ing onto north­bound Belvidere Road, po­lice added, John­son ap­par­ently lost con­trol of his ve­hi­cle and it spun out as Nitz, now joined by PPD Of­fi­cer Tony Lenzi, con­tin­ued their pur­suit.

Mo­ments later, now fac­ing south­bound in the 1300 block of Belvidere Road, the sus­pect in­ten­tion­ally rammed the cruiser driven by Nitz, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

“Af­ter he spun out, he re­gained con­trol and headed for me. He hit the front of my ve­hi­cle,” Nitz ex­plained on March 13, three days af­ter the in­ci­dent.

When the sus­pect backed up, Nitz got out of his pa­trol car and com­manded him to stop, po­lice said. But in­stead, po­lice added, John­son drove to­ward the cruiser again — forc­ing Nitz to jump back into his pa­trol car for safety — and then sped away.

“I fled into the ve­hi­cle. The lower part of my left leg got pinched be­tween the door and door frame,” Nitz re­called dur­ing last month’s in­ter­view, not­ing that he did not suf­fer in­juries while dodg- ing the on­com­ing Honda.

Mo­ments later, John­son drove his Honda into the front driver’s side of Lenzi’s pa­trol car, dis­abling it, and then sped away, po­lice re­ported.

A North East Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cer later found John­son’s aban­doned Honda on South Main Street in North East, po­lice said, adding that the ve­hi­cle was im­pounded.

Per­ryville De­tec­tive Dale Hoff­man was able to track down John­son, who had been ar­rested in March in an un­re­lated drug case, ac­cord­ing to po­lice and court records. Dfc. Bryan Shockey of the Ce­cil County Sher­iff’s Of­fice in- ves­ti­gated the two chase-re­lated ac­ci­dents, po­lice re­ported.

Both po­lice ve­hi­cles were placed out of ser­vice to un­dergo re­pairs, ac­cord­ing to Nitz, who re­ported that Lenzi’s pa­trol car sus­tained more dam­age than his cruiser.

“I was able to drive my ve­hi­cle away from the scene, but his was dis­abled,” Nitz noted, adding that the im­pact on Lenzi’s pa­trol car ap­par­ently bent the axle, ham­per­ing steer­ing.

Nitz and Lenzi did not re­quire med­i­cal treat­ment af­ter the in­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to Nitz, who com­mented three days af­ter the in­ci­dent, “I’m just a lit­tle bit sore.”

JOHN­SON

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

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