A Maryland man who allegedly led police on a 90-minute chase in a carjacked Mercedes with the owner's two children in the back seat was under the influence of cocaine and the violence-inducing hallucinogen phencyclidine, or PCP, his attorneys said in court yesterday.
Carl E. Jones, 32, is on trial in Montgomery County on several charges, including kidnapping, stemming from a pursuit July 15 that crossed six Maryland jurisdictions. Yesterday, with jurors out of the courtroom, defense lawyers told the judge that Jones's behavior that night was fueled by drugs.
The chase began in Baltimore, where Jones allegedly stole an Infiniti, then passed through Montgomery, where the Infiniti ran out of gas and Jones carjacked a Mercedes sport-utility vehicle, police said. The pursuit returned to the Baltimore area, then headed south again, ending near the border of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties.
After Jones was arrested, he told police, "I didn't know those kids were in the car," said lawyer Rene Sandler, citing notes taken by police. According to the notes cited by Sandler, Jones asked police, "Why was Baltimore following me?" And he said, "I am tired of those lights, they was making me paranoid."
Prosecutors argued yesterday that there is evidence suggesting that Jones was not intoxicated that night. But they did not dispute Jones's statements to police, or that police found a crack pipe and drug residue inside the Infiniti he allegedly stole.
"He didn't know what car he was driving," Sandler said, referring to Jones.
Jones is charged in Montgomery with carjacking, second-degree assault and two counts of kidnapping children and could be sentenced to 100 years in prison if convicted.
The defense hoped to argue to the jury that Jones was too intoxicated that night to have intentionally kidnapped the children. But evidence of intoxication was excluded after Circuit Court Judge Louise G. Scrivener ruled that under Maryland law, it was not a legitimate defense.
Jones allegedly stole the Mercedes on River Road near Potomac. The owner, Marna Plaia of Great Falls, testified Tuesday that her children, Paul, 3, and Edie, 18 months, were in the vehicle when Jones pulled Plaia out, threw her to the ground and drove away.
Jones allegedly drove the SUV at speeds up to 130 mph in Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties. Police said the chase lasted two hours -- with Jones spending a half-hour driving the Infiniti, then 90 minutes at the wheel of the Mercedes.
Montgomery police officer Thomas Tippett testified yesterday that police pulled Jones from the Mercedes and handcuffed him on the ground. Documents filed shortly after the arrest said Jones was captured after police pursued him on foot.