A suspected impaired driver was shot and killed by a Maryland state trooper early Friday morning after police say the driver dragged the trooper along Interstate 95 more than 2,000 feet while attempting to flee a traffic stop in Howard County.
Maryland State Police identified the driver as 36-year-old Julio Cesar Moran-Ruiz, of Baltimore.
Moran-Ruiz did not have identification on him at the time of the incident and gave the trooper a false name when he was stopped, said Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Woodrow W. Jones during an earlier news conference Friday morning.
Police also said they found multiple alcohol containers inside the driver’s vehicle, and a machete was under the driver’s seat within reach of the man, although authorities did not say whether the man had attempted to use the weapon.
Moran-Ruiz was pronounced dead by emergency medical service personnel on the scene.
The trooper, who was injured when he was thrown from the vehicle, has been a state trooper for three years. He was treated at the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center for his injuries and released later Friday morning, Jones said.
Northbound Interstate 95 between Md. 100 and Interstate 895/Harbor Tunnel was closed for nearly 6 1/2 hours as Maryland State Police investigated.
The incident unfolded early Friday morning. The trooper, who is assigned to the Waterloo Barrack in Jessup, Maryland, was working DUI enforcement on northbound I-95 in Howard County when shortly after 2 a.m., the trooper saw a red Ford Escape weaving across multiple lanes of I-95, according to police.
The trooper pulled over the vehicle onto the right shoulder in the area of northbound I-95 near Maryland Route 100 in Elkridge.
Before approaching the vehicle, the trooper requested backup assistance for standard field sobriety testing, according to authorities.
Before the additional help arrived on the scene, the trooper approached the driver’s side of the vehicle attempting to make contact with the driver, police said. Moments later, the backup trooper arrived and approached the passenger side of the vehicle.
The troopers then attempted to talk with the driver and police say they observed “obvious signs of impairment,” police said a news release.
The driver refused to get out of his vehicle when asked by the trooper on the driver’s side of the vehicle to exit.
Police say that the driver put the vehicle in drive and the trooper reached into the car and attempted to remove the keys from the ignition.
As the trooper reached in, the man accelerated and drove away, dragging the trooper more than 2,000 feet down the interstate, according to the release.
The driver did not respond when the trooper was yelling for him to stop the vehicle, police said.
The trooper then fired his pistol at the driver and was thrown from the car into the center median. He was found by another trooper not far from where the vehicle stopped, police said.
The incident is being investigated by the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit and both troopers at the scene have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues, the release said.
Maryland state troopers do not wear body cameras. Authorities are reviewing in-car digital video footage to see if it capture the incident, Jones said.
The Howard County State’s Attorney and members of the staff visited the scene on Friday and will continue to receive briefings from investigators. Investigators from the Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division also responded to the scene.