202

Suspect in wife’s fatal shooting crashes on I-95 after police chase, snarls traffic

A man suspected of fatally shooting his wife at a Fredericksburg apartment complex led authorities on a chase along Interstate 95 in Stafford County late Thursday morning, opened fire on officers and then turned the gun on himself before crashing his SUV, police said.

WASHINGTON — A man suspected of fatally shooting his wife at a Fredericksburg apartment complex led authorities on a chase along Interstate 95 in Stafford County late Thursday morning, opened fire on officers and then turned the gun on himself before crashing his SUV, police said.

The man crashed into a guardrail in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 after sideswiping another vehicle shortly after 11:30 a.m. Thursday, flipping his black Ford Explorer and blocking the interstate. The crash came after the driver fired multiple rounds at both a Virginia State Police trooper and a Stafford County Sheriff’s deputy who were attempting to pull him over, authorities said.

Amanda Vicinanzo, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said officers observed what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the man’s head after he was extracted from his overturned vehicle.

The SUV driver, who has not been identified, was flown to Fairfax Inova Hospital where he is in critical condition, Vicinanzo said. A Virginia State Police news release said the suspect was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The crash closed down all northbound lanes of I-95 in Stafford County at mile marker 142 around noon Thursday, leading to major disruptions in the area. As of 4:45 p.m., all lanes on I-95 northbound in the Fredericksburg area had reopened.

Below is a map of the area where the crash happened:

The police chase began earlier Thursday after the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a man who had fatally shot his wife at the England Run North Apartments in Fredericksburg, and then fled the scene in a black SUV. The woman was shot three times in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

A state trooper spotted the SUV traveling north on I-95 at about 11:30 a.m. and attempted to pull the vehicle over with the assistance of a Stafford County sheriff’s deputy, authorities said.

The man fired shots at both the trooper and the deputy during the pursuit. The gunman’s bullets struck and penetrated the windshields of both vehicles, authorities said.

In the case of the deputy, “the bullet penetrated the windshield and was later discovered lodged in the driver’s side headrest,” Vicinanzo said. “The deputy just ducked his head right in time and was not injured.”

The police chase also involved a three-vehicle chain-reaction crash, Virginia State Police said. After the trooper’s car was struck near the 138 mile marker, he stopped his cruiser, causing a vehicle traveling behind him to rear-end his car. A second car then rear-ended the first. One person suffered a minor injury in the chain-reaction crash and was treated at the scene, Virginia State Police said.

Neither the trooper nor the deputy neither fired his weapons.

The sheriff’s deputy suffered a minor injury when the bullet penetrated his windshield, state police said.

“We feel very fortunate that the community wasn’t hurt, that nobody driving on the highway was hurt and especially that our deputy and the trooper weren’t hurt,” Vicinanzo said. “It was a really close call.”

State police are investigating the police chase and crash. The sheriff’s office is investigating the fatal shooting of the woman in Fredericksburg.

WTOP’s Kristi King and Andrea Cambron contributed to this report.


Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.