From Maryland State Police:
The driver of a tractor trailer traveling the wrong direction on Interstate 95 for nearly eight miles is arrested after fleeing police and endangering the lives of highway workers and motorists in the area.
The accused is identified as Maurice Cooper, 37, of Haverhill, Florida. Cooper was taken into police custody this afternoon without incident. Pending consultation with the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office, Cooper 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. Cooper is currently awaiting an initial appearance before a court commissioner in Harford County.
Shortly before 12:30 p.m. today, troopers from the JFK Highway Memorial Barrack responded to the Maryland House Travel Plaza 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, personnel from the MDTA Courtesy Patrol Unit who happened to be in the area, advised police 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.
With lights and sirens activated, troopers began to follow the tractor trailer in an attempt to stop the driver while calling the barrack to request additional troopers. State police in their marked patrol cars with emergency lights activated shadowed the tractor trailer from the southbound lanes of I-95 while other patrol cars traveled north bound on I-95 towards the tractor trailer.
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 who was endangering the lives of numerous motorists and highway workers, and climbed on to the passenger side step of the tractor trailer.
Through an open passenger side window, the trooper 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.
Concerned for the safety of the motorists and pedestrians in the vicinity of the moving truck, 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.
Preliminary information indicates 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.
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.
Troopers on scene immediately established a perimeter with the assistance of deputies from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. During the search of the area, police along with a K-9 from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office tracked the suspect. The suspect, later identified as Cooper was located along the wood line and taken into custody without incident.
Throughout the incident, the JFK Highway Memorial Barrack received numerous 9-1-1 calls reporting the tractor trailer driving against traffic on I-95. There were no reported crashes due to the tractor trailer driving against traffic nor were any injuries sustained during the incident.
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.