Police in Maryland say this was just the start of it: A 1997 Ford Crown Victoria, traveling in front of an officer early Friday morning, veered off a highway and struck a large traffic sign in Montgomery County.
Next: A wooden support post from the sign became impaled in the Ford’s front windshield, sticking up and back more than five feet, like a misplaced lance. Yet the driver kept going, refusing to stop even as lights and sirens flashed behind him.
“He was lucky no one was killed,” said Officer Rick Goodale, a Montgomery police spokesman.
The driver, Omar Rasharn Thompson, 42, eventually did stop, the post still sticking out of his car, Goodale said. Thompson was not injured, and he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The incident unfolded about 2:15 a.m. Friday as an officer from the Takoma Park Police Department — working as part of Montgomery’s Alcohol Holiday Task Force — was westbound on the Intercounty Connector, north of Rockville.
The officer spotted the Crown Victoria “driving on the grassy area to the right of the roadway,” Goodale said.
Then the officer saw the car cross the westbound traffic lanes, travel into the median and strike the traffic sign. That’s when a wooden support post from the sign “became lodged in the front windshield of the Ford,” Goodale said.
The officer activated his lights and siren, following the Crown Victoria as it exited the ICC onto Shady Grove Road, where the car pulled over.
Thompson could not immediately be reached to comment.
Over a recent five-week stretch, officials say, the Alcohol Holiday Task Force made 150 arrests of drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.
And a few days ago, while investigators in the county were working a traffic fatality involving a suspected drunk driver, police said two additional drunk drivers rolled up to the scene and were cited for driving under the influence of alcohol.