A chase that began in Baltimore County ended in a fiery crash in Howard County yesterday, after a stolen car being pursued by police smashed into a tractor-trailer, killing one of the car's passengers and seriously injuring two others and the driver.

Julie Brown, 22, of Baltimore, had been riding in the front seat was declared dead at the scene.

The others in the car were taken to the University of Maryland shock trauma unit in Baltimore, where they were listed in critical but stable condition with multiple fractures. Two were identified as Garrick John Wesley, the driver, and Hellema S. Ferguson, both 22 and residents of Baltimore. The third, a 16-year-old male, was not identified.

The truck driver, Michael J. Weems, 41, of Bowie, was not injured in the accident, which took place on Route 40 in Ellicott City just before noon. Baltimore County police would not disclose how fast the police officer and suspects were going before the accident, saying the matter will be investigated.

Witnesses estimated that the cars had been traveling 70 to 100 mph.

The car, a 1987 Chevy Spectrum, heading west on U.S. 40, struck a large Mercedes-Benz truck turning left into the Normandy Plaza Shopping Center. The truck was knocked over. The car burned, blocking westbound traffic for almost two hours as rescue workers sought to extricate the passengers.

The chase began at a parking lot near Rolling Road and U.S. 40, Baltimore County police spokesman E. Jay Miller said. A man pointed out to Baltimore County police Officer Mark A. Watkins a car he said had just been stolen from his nephew in Baltimore. Watkins stopped the car, which sped away before the driver could be questioned, Miller said.

Watkins followed with lights flashing and siren blaring as the car had a minor collision with another car near Patapsco State Park and then crashed into the truck at Normandy Plaza.

Police confirmed that the Chevy had been stolen. No charges have been filed.