Trooper Narrowly Escapes Injury During Chase in Harford Co. …

… Man arrested, charged with DUI, assault …

By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

12:11 PM EST, February 3, 2012

A Maryland state trooper narrowly escaped serious injury during an early morning chase Friday along Route 152 in southern Harford County and a suspect has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

John Jacob Nussle V, 22, of Joppa, also faces assault and malicious destruction charges.

Senior Trooper Jon Sawa stopped a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, at 12:01 a.m. in the southbound lane of the highway near Stockton Road for erratic driving.

When the driver fled, the officer, who was driving an unmarked patrol vehicle, pursued the car for about three miles. The pursuit veered into the northbound lane, and the Cobalt rammed the trooper’s car at least once, police said. The chase continued north onto Old Joppa Road, until the officer hit a split rail fence.

A large piece of wood smashed through the driver’s side windshield of the trooper’s car, but a dash-mounted radar unit probably deflected the impact of the fence, police said. Investigators are trying to determine if the suspect forced the trooper off the road.

Soon after the crash, Harford County Sheriff’s deputies, who were monitoring the pursuit on radio, spotted the Cobalt on Atkinson Road in Joppa. Deputies pursued the vehicle until it crashed at 12:19 p.m. on Singer Road near Winters Run in Abingdon. The driver was taken into custody.

In addition to the DUI charge, Nussle was cited with numerous traffic offenses. He was not injured.

Sawa was treated for minor injuries at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and released Friday morning.

Sawa had followed his late father Trooper John Edward Sawa into law enforcement. The elder Sawa died in the line of duty 25 years ago, when a tractor-trailer ran off I-95 near Havre de Grace and struck his cruiser.

Maryland State Police Superintendent Marcus L. Brown said he plans to speak to Sawa and will mention the family ties.

“It says a lot about the law enforcement culture,” Brown said. “Son after son after daughter still join law enforcement knowing the dangers, knowing what their parents went through and the tragedies they’ve seen and endured.”

Six father-son teams are currently working on the state police force, in addition to 35 retired troopers whose sons are serving.

Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Hermann contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore Sun

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