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Officer injured, confrontation reported after Beltway crash in Montgomery County

A Montgomery County police officer was injured Tuesday while helping to direct vehicles on the Capital Beltway after a four-car crash that caused long delays.

After an automobile struck the officer, a confrontation ensued between the officer and the vehicle’s driver, said Capt. Paul Starks, the chief spokesman for the county police.

The driver was arrested on DUI-related charges, Starks said. He described the man as a 58-year-old Baltimore resident.

The man’s blood alcohol level was measured at .22, nearly three times the legal limit of .08, Starks said.

Starks said in an interview Tuesday evening that he could not immediately provide details of the confrontation between the motorist and the officer. However, a television station said it captured the incident on video shot from a helicopter.

Video footage on the Web site of WTTG (Channel 5) appears to show the officer and the driver close to each other near the driver’s car. At one point, the driver is shown lying on the ground.

Starks said he had not yet seen video footage. But he said the encounter would be reviewed.

The officer’s injuries were described as not life-threatening by a county police spokeswoman. Starks said he expected the officer to be released from the hospital Tuesday night.

Four other people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, a Maryland State Police supervisor said.

The confrontation occurred about 4 p.m. on the outer loop between Connecticut and Georgia avenues. Traffic remained backed up three hours later, the state police said.

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