2nd suspect in deadly Md. police chase turns himself in

August 24, 2012

The driver of a car involved in a high-speed chase with police that resulted in the death of a Prince George’s County officer turned himself in Thursday night, authorities announced Friday.

Kevon Darnell Neal, 23, of Fort Washington was the subject of an intense search after the death of Officer Adrian Morris, whose cruiser crashed and flipped Monday.

Another suspect, 24-year-old Kenneth Clark Mitchell Jr. of the District, was arrested Tuesday.

Both have been charged with felony theft for allegedly riding in a stolen car during the chase, but authorities said at a news conference Friday that they are exploring the possibility of adding vehicular manslaughter charges once the crash investigation is complete.

Police and county officials praised Morris, 23, and said it had been an emotional week for the police department. The 21 / 2-year veteran was the 27th Prince George’s officer killed in the line of duty and the first since 2010.

“This police family has suffered a devastating loss,” said Police Chief Mark Magaw. He added later: “This arrest brings some comfort and closure — hopefully — as we prepare to bury our fallen hero.”

Morris was remembered as a cheerful, friendly officer who took such pride in his job that he regularly wore a dress gray uniform instead of the more casual blue utility clothes preferred by much of the force.

The incident had begun about noon Monday, when Morris and Officer Michael Risher were called to a Laurel Shell station on a report that two men had been trying to break into customers’ cars, police said. The men were driving an Acura.

As the officers were investigating, the suspects were spotted in the Acura, and the officers jumped into their cruiser to try to catch up with the vehicle, police said. The officers tailed the Acura onto Interstate 95.

At some point, the Acura swerved across lanes of traffic, causing other cars to suddenly brake to try to avoid it, police said. Morris swerved to avoid those cars and lost control of the cruiser.

The car left the road and flipped several times, ejecting Morris, who was not wearing his seat belt and suffered severe head injuries, police said. Risher, who was wearing his seat belt, was treated at a hospital for injuries and released.

Morris’s decision to pursue the vehicle may have violated department policy, which allows chases of suspects only in more serious cases, such as a homicide or an armed carjacking, law enforcement sources said.

Montgomery County court records show that Neal has had a history of run-ins with police and been convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, disorderly conduct, burglary, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and escape from a pre-release center.

Morris’s funeral is at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Woodstream Church in Mitchellville.

“He was a shining star heading for an illustrious career that was cut short,” said Angela Alsobrooks, the county’s state’s attorney.

Michael Laris contributed to this report.

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