WESTMINSTER, Md. - A trooper first spotted the van traveling 25 miles per hour over the speed limit on eastbound Route 140 Saturday afternoon, and when he attempted to stop it, the chase was on.
"The trooper observed him weaving in and out of cars, tailgating cars, passing cars on the right,” said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police, “He ran a red light east of the barrack here."
The trooper ran the tag and discovered the vehicle was stolen, as deputies with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office placed stop sticks in the road, flattening one of the van's tires.
After cutting through a shopping center in Finksburg, the van turned south on Gamber Road.
"As it rolled to a stop, troopers saw all of the individuals inside bailing out of that vehicle and troopers and deputies were able to quickly round them up and seven people were taken into custody," said Shipley.
Those rounded up ranged in age from 18-to-just-15 years old, but it appears, all but the driver had simply been unwitting passengers out for a joy ride that turned into a harrowing race to elude police.
"The driver was identified as a 16-year-old and he was charged with Motor Vehicle Theft, Theft Under $25,000, Driving Without a Required License and other related charges---charged as a juvenile and at the direction of juvenile authorities was taken to the Charles Hickey School where he was being held," said Shipley.
Tragically, a Carroll County Sheriff's deputy sustained serious injuries when he was involved in a crash with another vehicle as he raced to back up the troopers on Gamber Road.
"That's one of the unfortunate parts of what goes along with individuals who violate the law in this way and this individual could have stopped up here when he first saw the trooper, but he chose not to and put a lot of people at risk," said Shipley.
According to state police, the alleged car thief had picked up his friends in the Owings Mills and Westminster area.
Tonight, the injured deputy remains at the Shock Trauma Center.