Two people remained hospitalized at week's end from injuries suffered after a high-speed police chase ended in a four-car collision in Waldorf on Wednesday morning. Police said Friday they aren't sure whether the driver they were after even knew he was being pursued.
Authorities are not releasing the name of the 49-year-old man who was driving a 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe that crashed into three other cars. He was in stable condition Friday at Prince George's Hospital Center, according to the Charles County sheriff's office.
A 52-year-old Suitland man who was driving a Pontiac Bonneville remained in critical condition. Two other people involved in the accident were treated at Civista Medical Center in La Plata and released.
The crash occurred as sheriff's officers were pursuing the Tahoe driver, who had sped through a toll gate near the Harry Nice Bridge in southern Charles County. Charles County officers were notified about the driver and followed him as he crossed over the median, then raced northbound in the southbound lane of Route 301 toward Waldorf.
The driver's bizarre behavior baffled officers, said Capt. Joe Montminy, commander of the sheriff's patrol division. They eventually caught up with the suspect when he attempted to squeeze his vehicle between two cars at Smallwood Drive and struck both, then hit a third vehicle.
Montminy questioned whether the driver even knew police were after him. The man had been driving recklessly, Montminy said, since crossing the Potomac from Virginia, leaving police no choice but to pursue him into a high-traffic area.
"We thought we had to do something," Montminy said. Police had considered using stop sticks, which deflate tires, but decided against it because of the suspect's unpredictable course. Montminy said the decision to chase a suspect is just as serious as the decision on whether to use deadly force. Officers undergo hours of training that teaches them to weigh factors of speed, weather conditions, time of day, amount of traffic and type of offense, Montminy said.
Authorities are still determining what charges may be filed against the suspect, he said.