BERLIN – A high-speed chase throughout the Berlin area on New Year’s Eve ended in a huge collision near Stephen Decatur High School that sent a total of nine people to area hospitals including seven members of one local family.
Shortly after 8 p.m. last Wednesday, New Year’s Eve, a Berlin Police officer on routine patrol clocked a dark-colored BMW sedan heading north on Route 113 at Germantown Rd. going 108 mph in a 50 mph zone. The officer attempted to stop the speeding vehicle, which led to a high speed pursuit through the outskirts of Berlin and continued onto eastbound Route 50.
When the suspect vehicle, driven by Winton Doyle Douglas, 26, of Portsmouth, Va., reached the intersection of Route 50 and Seahawk Rd. in front of Stephen Decatur High School, it ran through a red traffic signal at a high rate of speed and collided with an SUV, which was crossing the intersection on a green traffic signal. The SUV was carrying seven members of the Espinoza family of Berlin.
All seven occupants of the SUV were transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, including two, an adult and a juvenile, who were initially listed with life threatening injuries. As of mid-week, five of the occupants of the SUV had been released from the hospital while two remained in the intensive care unit.
Douglas and his passenger, later identified as Tyrone Alexander, 20, both active U.S. Navy personnel stationed in Norfolk, Va., were also taken to area hospitals and treated and later released. Berlin, Ocean City and Ocean Pines emergency fire units assisted with the transport of all of the injured passengers in the two vehicles and Maryland State Police Aviation transported one passenger.
During a search of the BMW following the collision, a loaded .45 caliber handgun was found in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Douglas was arrested by Berlin Police and charged with driving under the influence, speeding (108 mph in a 50 mph zone), aggressive driving, attempting to allude police, alluding resulting in bodily injury to others, and transporting a handgun in a motor vehicle. He is being held in the Worcester County Detention Center on a $750,000 bond and a preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 3.
The Maryland State Police, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Ocean City Police, whose traffic safety unit is conducting accident reconstruction, assisted Berlin Police in the incident