Friday, June 20, 2014

Welfare Check Leads to Pursuit

Mechanicsville, Maryland - On June 19, 2014, at 6:48 PM, Deputy Lawrence responded to a residence in the area of Wainwright Road and Thompson Corner Road to check the welfare of a suspicious white male subject operating a white Ford Ranger pick-up truck. Deputy Lawrence arrived in the area and made contact with the driver and sole occupant of the white truck identified as, Joseph Michael Burkhard III, 31, of Mechanicsville. Deputy Lawrence spoke to Burkhard who indicated he had no reason for being on the caller’s property. Deputy Lawrence directed Burkhard to leave at which time he left the area in his truck.

Approximately 15 minutes later, Deputy Lawrence saw Burkhard’s truck pass the caller’s private driveway. Deputy Lawrence got behind the truck and saw it cross the center line several times. Deputy Lawrence activated his emergency lights and attempted to stop the truck. The driver refused to stop, the truck sped up, and a pursuit ensued. At one point, the truck came to a stop on Route 234 only to proceed after stopping for a brief moment. In the area of the entrance to the Maryland International Speedway, the driver suddenly came to a stop again, put the truck in reverse, and attempted to ram Deputy Lawrence’s patrol car just missing the right front quarter panel. The truck then took off again. Deputy Wesner was positioned ahead of the pursuit and deployed STOP Sticks. The truck traveled over the STOP Sticks puncturing 3 of the tires. As the truck attempted to enter the roundabout in Chaptico, Burkhard lost control causing the truck to come to a stop in the center of the cement island. Deputies ordered Burkhard to show his hands and exit the vehicle. He refused all commands but was taken into custody by Corporal Cathcart and his K9 partner Bruno. Burkhard was taken to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment then transported to the St. Mary’s County Detention Center and charged with 3 COUNTS of 1st Degree Assault, 3 COUNTS of 2nd Degree Assault on Law Enforcement Officer, 3 COUNTS 2nd Degree Assault, and 3 COUNTS of Reckless Endangerment. No law enforcement personnel were injured during this incident.  
Joseph Burkhard III
While responding with his emergency lights and siren activated to assist deputies with the vehicle pursuit, Deputy Gaskill was traveling west on Route 234 in the area of Hicks Drive, when he lost control of his vehicle and struck an embankment. No other vehicles were involved and Deputy Gaskill was not injured. The preliminary cause of the accident appears Deputy Gaskill’s vehicle struck standing water on the roadway and hydroplaned. The investigation into the exact cause of the accident is ongoing.