A man who led authorities in a pursuit through Harford County and into Baltimore County died Wednesday night after a Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputy used a TASER device on him, police said.
Arvel Douglas Williams, 30, of the 800 block of Mangold Street in Baltimore was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m., one hour after police said he initiated a pursuit which began on Route 7 in Joppa and ended in Perry Hall. Williams was TASERed after he resisted arrest “by failing to comply with deputies’ orders,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The identity of the deputy who used the TASER on Williams was not released Thursday; Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cristie Kahler directed all inquiries to the Baltimore County Police Department, who she said would likely release the deputy’s name in accordance with their policies. Those policies allow 48 hours for the officer involved to be interviewed by investigators before their name is made public.
According to the Sheriff’s Office statement, at approximately 8:02 p.m. Wednesday night, deputies in the area of Route 7 and Route 152 in Joppa observed suspected drug activity involving Williams and his red Ford Ranger pickup truck. When they attempted to stop Williams, he led multiple units in a pursuit down Route 7, into Baltimore County, and onto Cowenten Avenue near Honeygo Regional Park. Police said Williams’ speed ranged between 35 and 60 mph during the incident.
Williams attempted to navigate around a traffic circle at the intersection of Cowenten Avenue and East Joppa Road and return southbound, but travelled over the median and struck a Baltimore County Police Department vehicle attempted to assist in the pursuit. Police said Williams attempted to put the truck in reverse several times to continue the pursuit before exiting the vehicle and refusing law enforcement officers’ orders.
“Deputies were forced to deploy their TASERS in an effort to safely place Williams under arrest,” the Sheriff’s Office said in the statement. In their own release, the Baltimore County Police Department said Williams was initially communicative but “suddenly began to have a medical emergency.” Paramedics arrived and transported Williams to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m.
The Sheriff’s Office said a white, powdery substance which tested positive as cocaine was found covering Williams’ face and the inside of the vehicle; police believe Williams consumed the drug before his arrest.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies involved in the incident were placed on routine administrative leave; no deputies or officers were injured in the incident. Baltimore County Police Department homicide detectives are conducting the investigation due to the location of Williams’ death, that agency said, and an autopsy will be conducted.
The incident marks the second death involving the Sheriff’s Office use of a TASER device in the last five years. Dwight Madison, 48, died in June 2009 while in custody at the Harford County Detention Center after police said he became combative and corrections officers TASERed him, causing him to fall and strike his head on the ground.