HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. Troopers recovered thousands of dollars worth of cocaine from the trunk of a car in which two men were killed early this morning after the driver fled from a trooper trying to stop him on I-95 in Harford County.
The driver was identified as Charles L. Quinones, Jr., 37, of the 5200-block of Cromarty Road, Baltimore, Md. During the crash investigation, troopers found Quinones was wanted on a felony warrant in Baltimore County for failure to appear for a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Troopers also found his drivers license had been suspended in Maryland for more than one year.
The passenger was identified as Willie S. Robertson, 74, of the 1000-block of Jeanette Way, Bel Air, Md. The 2005 Mercury Sable Quinones was driving was registered to Robertson.
Shortly after 5:00 a.m. today, a trooper assigned to the State Police Pro-Active Criminal Enforcement Team was working patrol on southbound I-95 south of Rt. 272 when he observed the Mercury headed in the same direction. The trooper saw that the rear license plate was obstructed and determined the vehicle was traveling 72 mph in a posted 65 mph zone.
Approaching the Rt. 222 interchange, the trooper activated his lights and siren on his marked Ford Expedition State Police patrol vehicle. The driver of the Mercury, later identified as Quinones, signaled he was pulling over, then quickly swerved to the fast lane and accelerated.
Quinones continued south on I-95 driving aggressively as he weaved between vehicles. The pursuing trooper was traveling at 90 mph, but was unable to keep up with the fleeing Mercury. The trooper was about one-half mile behind as he approached the Rt. 155 exit and saw the Mercury swerve across several lanes, cut off a tractor trailer, and take the ramp to westbound Rt. 155.
The trooper took the exit ramp and, near the end of the ramp about one-quarter mile off I-95, found the Mercury had gone off the eastbound side of Rt. 155 and crashed into trees not far from the shoulder of the road. The trooper and other responding troopers attempted to render aid to the two men and called for a State Police helicopter and an ambulance. Medics who arrived at the scene pronounced the men dead.
Witnesses told troopers the driver of the Mercury was passing cars on the right as it came off Rt. 155 at a high rate of speed. They said the driver then lost control, swerved across the highway and crashed.
A police search of the heavily damaged car found six and one-half ounces of powder cocaine in plastic bags in the trunk. State Police drug investigators estimate the cocaine could have been sold on the street for more than $18,000.
The crash is being investigated by the Maryland State Police CRASH Team. A detailed crash reconstruction will be conducted. The investigation is continuing.
Source: MSP HQ, Pikesville, Md.