An Alexandria man suspected of shoplifting a fur coat at a Gaithersburg store led police on a four-mile chase yesterday that ended when his car slammed into two Montgomery County police cruisers, injuring one officer and himself, police said.
The suspect, identified as Charles A. Graziano, 35, of Elmwood Drive, was taken into custody at the accident scene.
Police said last night that Graziano was charged with assault with intent to murder, felony theft, destruction of property and numerous traffic violations.
Montgomery County Police Officer John Shigo, who works out of the Germantown Station, was treated and released at a local hospital, police said.
In a separate but related accident, Maryland State Police Cpl. James M. Etheridge, 39, received minor injuries when his car was struck by another auto as he was traveling south on Rte. 355 to assist in the pursuit, said state police Sgt. Douglas Slacum.
Etheridge had both siren and red lights on when his car was struck broadside by an auto leaving the Gaitherstowne Plaza shopping center near Maryland Avenue in Gaithersburg, Slacum said.
The driver of the other car, Robert William King, 37, of 17317 Blossom View Dr., Olney, was not injured. The accident is under investigation, the officer said.
Police said the chase began at 2 p.m. yesterday when Graziano allegedly was spotted by employes taking a fur coat at the Sears store in Lakeforest Mall.
The suspect was pursued by Sears employes until he got into an auto in the mall parking lot and drove off, striking but not injuring one of the employes, police said.
A Montgomery County police officer in the vicinity pursued the car south on Rte. 355. The suspect's car, which struck several other vehicles during the chase, eluded a police road blockade at East Diamond Avenue and West Girard Street.
But as the car neared the entrance of the Shady Grove Metro Station on Rte. 355, the suspect's car slammed into two county police cruisers involved in the chase and came to a halt, police said.