A Maryland police sergeant, identified as Sgt. Patrick Kepp, has been left paralyzed from the waist down after being intentionally struck by a driver attempting to evade officers. The driver, 19-year-old Raphael Mayorga, has been taken into custody on charges of attempted murder and multiple traffic violations. The incident occurred on Interstate 270 in Montgomery County.
According to Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones, the incident began early Wednesday morning when Mayorga was spotted driving at a speed exceeding 110 mph. Instead of initiating a high-speed chase, the police used stop sticks to halt Mayorga’s vehicle. Sgt. Kepp was in the process of deploying the stop sticks when Mayorga intentionally ran him over.
Mayorga was later apprehended farther along the highway after another officer successfully deployed stop sticks, disabling his car. Meanwhile, Sgt. Kepp was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where it was confirmed that he is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Police Chief Jones revealed that Mayorga is known for provoking dangerous pursuits. Mayorga was driving without a license and had multiple open driving-related cases against him, including three from April and May. In one of those incidents, Sgt. Kepp himself had arrested Mayorga for several traffic violations, including driving at a speed of 136 mph in a 55 mph zone. Mayorga also pleaded guilty to petty theft in August.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich expressed the need for legislation to address such incidents, stating that they should not be treated as regular traffic violations. Elrich thanked Sgt. Kepp for his service and acknowledged the sacrifice he had made.
Sgt. Kepp has been a member of the police department since 2014.