HARFORD COUNTY, M.d. (FOX 5 DC) - The driver of a tractor-trailer traveling in the wrong direction on I-95 in Maryland for nearly eight miles was arrested Monday after fleeing police and endangering the lives of highway workers and motorists in the area.
Maurice Cooper, 37, of Haverhill, Florida faces the following charges: attempted second-degree murder, first and second-degree assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, theft and other related traffic charges.
Troopers from the JFK Highway Memorial Barrack responded to the Maryland House Travel Plaza shortly before 12:30 p.m. Monday for a reported theft.
Upon their arrival, troopers made contact with a male victim who told police his jacket and keys were stolen while inside the travel plaza. The victim notified police the suspect was the driver of a specific tractor-trailer.
While the victim was informing police of the theft, troopers were advised of a tractor-trailer exiting the travel plaza on the wrong side. The tractor-trailer was traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-95, driving against traffic.
Troopers began to follow the tractor-trailer in an attempt to stop the driver while calling the barrack to request additional troopers.
After approximately three miles, the driver stopped the tractor-trailer on the fast shoulder in an active work zone where several highway workers were conducting roadwork. A trooper exited his vehicle in an effort to make contact with the driver.
The trooper climbed onto the passenger side step of the tractor-trailer and made several verbal requests for the driver to shift the truck into park and hand over his keys.
In response to the trooper’s request, the driver accelerated into the northbound lanes of I-95, again traveling south against northbound traffic.
The trooper continued to yell at the driver to stop, but he refused. As the driver continued to accelerate, the trooper was subsequently thrown from the truck onto the highway. The trooper suffered minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene.
The driver continued to drive against traffic for approximately four more miles and crossed all lanes of northbound I-95 to the slow shoulder into a construction zone where he made a U-turn and continued north on I-95, according to preliminary information.
An off-duty police officer, aware of the ongoing incident, followed the tractor-trailer as it exited off of I-95.
A helicopter from the Baltimore County Police Department responded to assist and located the tractor-trailer as it pulled into a motel parking lot in the 1700 block of Edgewood Road in Edgewood. According to witnesses, the driver then fled on foot into a wooded area behind the motel.
The suspect, later identified as Cooper, was located along the wood line and taken into custody without incident.
There were no reported crashes due to the tractor-trailer driving against traffic nor were any injuries sustained during the incident.
Cooper is currently awaiting an initial appearance before a court commissioner in Harford County.
Investigators from the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division North will lead the investigation as it continues. Any witnesses to the incident are asked to contact the JFK Highway Memorial Barrack at 410-537-1150.