Driver of suspected stolen car charged with attempted murder after striking police officer in Woodbridge

Prince William County police officers responded to a 7-Eleven parking lot at 14797 Darbydale Avenue in Dale City for the report of a stolen vehicle on Thursday night. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)
These street signs are near where a Prince William County police officer approached the driver of a suspected stolen vehicle about an hour after one was reported stolen at the 7-Eleven in Dale City Thursday night. Police said that officer is hospitalized with serious injuries after being struck by the fleeing car. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)

A Woodbridge, Virginia, man has been charged with attempted murder after striking a Prince William County police officer with a stolen vehicle Thursday night.

Valmiki Deo Chandler, 18, was charged Friday with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated malicious wounding, felony hit and run, felony eluding and felony grand larceny auto theft. He is being held without bond and awaiting a court date.

According to Prince William County police, officers responded to a call Thursday evening around 10 p.m. involving a stolen 2012 Dodge Journey from the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store at 14797 Darbydale Avenue in Woodbridge. The vehicle was left unsecured with keys inside, police said.

Police located the vehicle just before 11 p.m. on Oust Lane, as one of its officers attempted to make contact with the driver, later identified as Chandler. When the officer was at the driver’s side window, Chandler sped away and made a U-turn.

That’s when “the vehicle drove directly towards the officer at a high rate of speed,” according to a news release. The officer then “fired their department issued handgun” before he was hit by the stolen vehicle.

Chandler then “lost control” of the vehicle and crashed before fleeing on foot.

At around 1:30 a.m. Friday, undercover detectives found Chandler emerging for a wooded area near Princedale Drive and Dale Boulevard and arrested him without incident. He suffered minor injuries but he was not struck by gunfire.

Authorities did not identify the officer involved in the incident.

Police said the officer was hospitalized with a significant head injury after hitting the roadway, but is expected to make a full recovery. The officer will remain on administrative leave as he recovers.

The investigation is classified as an officer-involved shooting. Both a criminal investigation and an independent administrative investigation are ongoing.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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