A traffic stop turned into a high-speed pursuit and two crashes early Friday, landing one Maryland State Police trooper in Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Senior Trooper Jon Sawa was released from the hospital Friday morning having sustained minor cuts and bruises, according to police.
As a result of the chase and crashes, charges are pending against a Joppa man, John Jacob Nussle V, in connection with the traffic stop and pursuit that resulted in Sawa's injuries.
During the early morning hours, Sawa tried to stop a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt in the area of Maryland Route 152, or Mountain Road, and Stockton Road in the Joppa area, according to a news release from state police with the Bel Air Barrack.
The car pulled away and sped southbound on Route 152 and Sawa gave chase. At some point the Cobalt turned around to head northbound, according to the release.
The driver of the Cobalt, later identified as Nussle, allegedly rammed Sawa's vehicle at least once, police said. Sawa's pursuit ended in the area of Maryland Route 152 and Old Joppa Road when Sawa’s patrol vehicle hit a split rail wooden fence, according to the release.
A large part of the fence went through the driver's side of Sawa's windshield and police believe either the trooper's hand or the mounted radar unit prevented the wood from hitting him in the torso, according to the release.
Police are investigating the possibility that Nussle's vehicle pushed the patrol car off the road.
Harford County sheriff's deputies picked up the pursuit until the Cobalt crashed a short time later on Singer Road east of Winter's Run Road in Abingdon. The uninjured Nussle was taken into custody at the scene of the second crash, according to police.
Nussle, 22, has charges pending including driving under the influence of alcohol and first-degree assault.
Sawa is not the first in his family to be involved in an on-duty crash. Sawa's father, Essex native John Edward Sawa, was killed in the line of duty after his police cruiser was hit by a tractor trailer on I-95 near Havre de Grace in 1987, according to his online officer down memorial page.
The elder Sawa, age 40 at the time, had been a Maryland State Police trooper for five years, according to the memorial page.