Montgomery Co. officer struck on I-270 is in ‘phenomenal spirit,’ police chief says

Montgomery County Police Sgt. Patrick Kepp was attempting to stop a suspected drunk driver when he was struck, police said. (Courtesy Montgomery County police/WTOP)

A police officer from Montgomery County, Maryland, wants to get back to work, even after the job cost him his legs.

Sgt. Patrick Kepp was hit by a car driven by a teen driver running from police on Interstate 270 on Oct. 18. His legs had to be amputated as a result of the injuries, but that is not dampening his spirit, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

“Sgt. Pat Kepp is in really phenomenal spirit,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones.

Even after the life-altering injury, Kepp has his eyes on the future, Jones said, and that includes the nine-year veteran not giving up on his career.

“He knows he has a very long journey in recovery and rehabilitation, but he wants to come back and still be a police officer,” Jones said.

Montgomery County Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madaleno said he was also impressed with Kepp’s attitude.

“I’ve had a chance to visit the sergeant on multiple occasions,” he said, “Extraordinarily good spirits for someone who’s gone through such a traumatic injury.”

Madaleno believes if anyone can overcome this type of injury, it’s Kepp.

“There are few people I think you would feel so confident about,” Madaleno said, “If there’s someone who is going to be back up and on the job, it’s going to be Pat Kepp and we’re going to be thrilled to welcome him back to the Montgomery County Police Department when he is ready.”

Kepp was injured as officers were trying to pull over 19-year-old Raphael Mayorga, who is accused of leading police on a chase on I-270 between Watkins Mill Road and Middlebrook Road. As Kepp attempted to lay out stop sticks, witnesses said Mayorga steered his Dodge Charger at the sergeant, hitting him, and kept going before stopping further down the road on I-270.

According to prosecutors, Mayorga was well-known to police as someone who tried to lead them on high-speed chases frequently. Kepp himself even arrested Mayorga earlier this year for numerous traffic infractions. Even after multiple arrests, he was allowed out of jail on bond.

“We are concerned that this young man who was arrested in this case was still out on the streets, and he shouldn’t have been,” Madaleno said, ”Part of it is because there seem to be inadequate state laws to deal with aggressive driving, truly reckless driving.”

Madaleno said Montgomery County is already working with the police department, the state’s attorney, and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s administration to remedy some of the holes in current traffic laws.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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