Car Chase Ends In Resort Arrest

OCEAN CITY – An Anne Arundel County man was arrested last weekend after leading resort police on a high-speed pursuit from one end of the town to the other before getting caught hours later at a fight at a downtown bar.

Around 8:20 p.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling in the downtown area detected a stolen vehicle ping from a license plate reader (LPR) on the Route 50 bridge entering the resort. A check with Ocean City Communications revealed the vehicle, a Honda CRV, had been reported stolen in Baltimore County.

OCPD officers observed the vehicle at 7th Street and Baltimore Avenue and began following it.

The stolen vehicle reportedly drove the speed limit, but drove erratically, changing lanes rapidly. An OCPD officer observed the driver, later identified as Desmond Banks, 22, of no fixed address in Anne Arundel County, looking back at the officer following him through his driver’s side mirror. According to police reports, Banks waved his left arm in and up and down motion as if to taunt the officer to stop him.

The OCPD officer activated his emergency lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop. The vehicle reportedly turned on to 25th Street and moved to the right as if it were going to stop. OCPD officers prepared to initiate a high-risk stop. Banks did not stop, however, and turned north on Baltimore Avenue at a high rate of speed, according to police reports.

Banks was driving approximately 65 miles per hour on Baltimore Avenue, and the OCPD officer following the vehicle was told to disengage from the pursuit. The officer turned of emergency lights and sirens but continued to keep Banks’ vehicle in sight and reduced speed to the speed limit, according to police reports.

The vehicle reportedly turned north onto Coastal Highway at 33rd Street and accelerated to speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. Other OCPD officers responded and attempted to deploy stop sticks in an attempt to end the pursuit. Banks continued to drive north on Coastal Highway at around 80 miles per hour, weaving erratically in and out of heavy traffic. At one point, Banks was driving in the bus lane and at different points ran through red lights.

Banks traveled north on Coastal Highway until OCPD officers lost sight of the vehicle. Around 6 p.m. on Sunday, OCPD officers were alerted to another stolen car ping from an LPR at the north end of town at 140th Street heading south on Coastal Highway.

OCPD officers positioned themselves to deploy stop sticks at 130th on southbound Coastal Highway, but determined it was not safe to do so because of the high volume of traffic. OCPD officers then lost sight of Banks and the stolen Honda CRV although they continued to search.

Later on Sunday, OCPD officers responded to a fight in progress at a downtown bar. Upon arrival, OCPD officers located Banks and a juvenile female believed to be Banks’ passenger during the pursuit. Banks was arrested initially on the outstanding warrant from Anne Arundel County, for which he was wanted for assault and stalking, according to police reports.

A search of Banks incident to the arrest revealed a Honda key fob. Banks told the officers the vehicle belonged to a friend, and he did not know where it was. The initial OCPD officer confirmed Banks and the female juvenile were the occupants of the vehicle involved in the pursuit earlier in the evening.

OCPD officers interviewed the juvenile female passenger who admitted Banks was driving the stolen CRV and fled from police. The juvenile passenger told police she was scared for her life during the incident and praying for her safety, according to police reports.

During an interview with Banks, he first stated he knew nothing of the incident. When advised what his juvenile passenger had told officers, he said he did not realize the vehicle was stolen. Otherwise, he did not provide any more details and continued to deny the entire incident, according to police reports.

According to police reports, Banks has a lengthy criminal history for his age with multiple felony cases in different counties, including an open felony case in Worcester County. He was charged with motor vehicle theft, reckless endangerment, and dozens of traffic violations.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.