The Maryland State Police have released dashboard camera footage of a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 which occurred in February 2011, and ended only when a trooper rammed his vehicle into the suspect’s car.
The Dagger initially requested the video shortly after the incident, but its release was delayed until the judicial process was completed and approval was obtained at various levels of Maryland State Police command, including Superintendent Marcus Brown.
According to Maryland State Police, the chase occurred Feb. 8, 2011 after federal marshals issued a lookout for a silver Ford Taurus with Virginia plates in the Harford area. The vehicle was driven by Brandon L. Pegram, 23, of Stoney Creek, Va., who was believed to be armed. Police said Pegram had held his family hostage the previous day, and threatened to harm any police officers who attempted to capture him.
Harford County Sheriff’s deputies spotted Pegram’s vehicle at approximately 2:47 p.m. on Route 40 at Gateway Drive, and attempted to initiate a traffic stop, Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell said.
Pegram fled, traveling south on Route 40 toward Baltimore County before turning onto White Marsh Boulevard and I-95, heading north back to Harford County. The chase, which averaged a speed of approximately 100 mph, ended after Pegram attempted to ram citizen vehicles and nearly struck two sheriff’s deputies. Police said Pegram attempted to hit one of the officers by driving his vehicle directly at the deputy, who dived out of the way.
At that time, Maryland State Police Sgt. Mark Yingling executed a “PIT maneuver,” ramming Pegram’s car into the guardrail—-visible in the far right side of the frame at approximately the 9:10 mark of the video.
The video released to The Dagger follows, and this story continues below. The video, shot from the vehicle of Trooper First Class Jonathan Novack, picks up as the pursuit turns off of Route 40 and onto White Marsh Boulevard. Pegram’s vehicle is a light green Ford Taurus, visible ahead of the lead vehicle in the pursuit, a Harford County Sheriff’s Office unit.
Pegram resisted arrest, according to state police, and was taken into custody after sustaining minor injuries. He faced a bevy of charges for his actions both in Virginia and during the chase, including robbery, kidnapping, and assault, among others. In Maryland, he was found guilty of second degree assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, and resisting arrest, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
For his actions, Yingling was awarded the Superintendent’s Citation for Heroism, one of the agency’s highest awards.
Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell could not immediately identify the deputy involved in the pursuit, or any special recognition they may have received for their role in the chase. The Dagger also sought dashboard footage from the cameras of the 11 Sheriff’s Office units involved in the chase; Worrell said agency’s standard records department cost to transfer such footage to DVD is $75 per unit, or $825 for all vehicles, and said it was unclear what portions of the pursuit the footage might show.
Some of the procedures, terms, and events which occurred at various times of the video include:
1:17: A “10-80” refers to a high-speed pursuit. The Sheriff’s Office and state police maintain different guidelines for how a pursuit can be initiated, maintained, and ended (the Sheriff’s Office guidelines, dating to June 2004, can be found at the end of this story). In this case, the Sheriff’s Office vehicle had been the lead vehicle in the pursuit, and remained so when the chase went onto I-95.
Attempting to “switch” positions with a state police vehicle would have been impractical as the speed of the chase increased, according to Sgt. Ian Loughran, an instructor for the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Vehicle Operator Course training. Driving tactics are taught during academy training and at various times each year, he said, and the deputy’s actions in the pursuit complied with department regulations and policies.
As the second vehicle in the pursuit, Novack regularly communicated the status and location of the chase, while the sheriff’s deputy focused on staying with Pegram’s vehicle.
2:14: A “10-55” refers to a suspected drunk driver.
2:45: “Stop sticks” are tire deflation devices employed by many police agencies to stop oncoming vehicles.
3:04: “10-3” is an order to other units to stop transmitting on a particular channel.
3:46: Pegram’s vehicle strikes a civilian car, but avoids causing a major accident amid particularly dense traffic.
4:18: A felony stop involves a set of procedures used in a traffic stop of a particularly dangerous individual. During a felony stop, Maryland State Police Bel Air Barrack commander Lt. Charles Moore said a trooper will use their car’s public address system to give a driver specific instructions to roll down their window, show their hands, exit the vehicle, walk toward the trooper’s car, and lie on the ground.
But as shown at the end of the video, real-life scenarios aren’t always so controlled.
“It didn’t work out that way, we had to ram him,” Moore said. “It’s usually 50/50 on whether that [felony stop procedures] works out.
4:58: A voice in the background of radio traffic asks whether any Marshals are in the area; it was the U.S. Marshals Service which had initially put out an alert on Pegram.
5:20: As the pursuit passes exit 74, the first exit since Pegram went onto I-95, Yingling’s vehicle joins the chase. Yingling, who Moore said is a driving instructor, becomes the lead car in pursuit—visible as a pair of lights entering the roadway from the right side. At this exit, and at the on-ramp at exit 77, other police units can be seen stopping traffic from entering the highway.
8:57: Pegram attempts to hit Sheriff’s Office deputies trying to deploy stop sticks. The state police detailed his actions in their official release about the incident:
Two sheriff’s deputies were on foot after deploying stop sticks. Pegram nearly struck the first deputy, then lost control and traveled across I-95 [to the right of the video], nearly striking the second deputy. The suspect then appeared to deliberately drive his car directly at the second deputy, who was able to dive out of the way before being hit.
The deputy can be seen at the far left of the screen, as a dark blur at the top of a small embankment near the guardrail as Novack’s vehicle passes.
9:10-9:14: According to Moore, Yingling sees a chance to bring the pursuit to an end after Pegram displayed deadly force, and cuts his car to the right, executing a PIT maneuver on Pegram’s vehicle.
9:27: Novack pulls his vehicle over, and as he opens his door, the sounds of all the pursuing vehicles can be heard.