Woman who died in Montgomery Co. police pursuit identified

The woman who died in a crash after a traffic stop and police pursuit on Feb. 26 in Montgomery County, Maryland, was identified Monday.

Police identified her as Noraly Paz Chavez, 26, of Riverdale.

Authorities said the officer involved was Antonio Copeland, who has worked for the Montgomery County Police Department for 16 1/2 years.

The state attorney general’s office said Copeland saw a car commit a traffic violation about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 26 in North Bethesda. As Copeland was conducting a traffic stop, Chavez drove away.

She lost control of her vehicle while being pursued and crashed on Randolph Road in Wheaton. Chavez was pronounced dead at the scene. A male passenger was treated for minor injuries and released.

Authorities said the Copeland’s body-worn and dashboard cameras were activated during the incident.

The circumstances of the pursuit remain under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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