After hijacking a Maryland State Highway truck, a man was arrested this led to a high-speed pursuit that injured 4 officers and 1 driver

In a startling incident on February 16, 2024, a high-speed chase unfolded across Maryland’s highways, leading to the arrest of a 27-year-old Laurel resident, Flavio Cesar Lanuza. The pursuit involved a stolen Maryland State Highway truck and resulted in injuries to one civilian driver and four law enforcement officers.

The episode began near the inner loop of the Beltway, where Lanuza was reportedly involved in a hit-and-run incident involving four vehicles shortly before 5 p.m. Fleeing the scene in a Ford Ranger, Lanuza later crashed into a guardrail after driving into the I-495/I-95 Park and Ride lot. In a dramatic turn of events, he abandoned his damaged vehicle to commandeer a State Highway Administration (SHA) truck.

The chase, reported by WTOP’s Dave Dildine, spanned a significant part of the Maryland road network, including major routes such as I-95, Route 1, and the Intercounty Connector. The pursuit extended through multiple counties, including Prince George’s and Montgomery, covering nearly 30 miles.

Lanuza, driving the stolen SHA vehicle, engaged in reckless behavior, striking multiple vehicles, including a state trooper’s car, and causing widespread chaos and damage.

Authorities attempted to halt the stolen truck’s rampage through various towns such as Beltsville, College Park, Calverton, Fairland, and Laurel. However, Lanuza continued his destructive path, eventually leading to a dramatic climax where he collided with several cars near Lockwood Drive and ended up in a wooded area near the Northwest Branch, where he was apprehended.

The chase caused significant damage and risk to public safety, with Lanuza hitting a total of 13 vehicles. This resulted in one civilian and two law enforcement members—a Maryland state trooper and a Montgomery County Police officer—being hospitalized due to injuries sustained during the ordeal.

The aftermath of this event has left the community in shock, raising questions about road safety and the measures in place to prevent such dangerous incidents. Charges pending against Lanuza include vehicle theft and first-degree assault, reflecting the severity of his actions.

The Maryland State Police have continued their investigation into the incident, seeking to understand the sequence of events that led to this dangerous pursuit. Helicopter footage from 7News captured the moment Lanuza’s vehicle suffered a tire blowout, leading to the final crashes.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed by vehicle theft and high-speed pursuits. It highlights the risks law enforcement officers face daily and the importance of public vigilance and safety on the roads.

As the community recovers from this alarming event, discussions about improving highway security and preventing similar incidents in the future are expected to intensify.

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