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Investigators release footage of fatal crash in Eldersburg that followed police pursuit

In World
May 24, 2024

The Independent Investigations Division of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General on Thursday released body-worn and dashboard camera footage of a police pursuit that led to a deadly crash in Eldersburg last month.

The April 20 fatal head-on collision on Liberty Road was captured by a camera worn by Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Hessler and by a dashboard camera in his police cruiser.

According to an April 21 news release, a Carroll County sheriff’s deputy near the intersection of Liberty and Ridge roads in Eldersburg saw a car speeding around 11:30 p.m. and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver fled. About a mile away, the driver crossed into oncoming traffic on Liberty Road and struck an SUV, the release said.

Kayla Rodriguez-Garcia, 22, of Randallstown, the driver of the SUV, was killed in the crash. Rodriguez-Garcia had one passenger in her car, who sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the vehicle that fled the police stop has not been identified by police.

The dashboard camera footage shows Hessler coming to a stop after he sees the vehicle he was pursuing has crashed. The footage shows a dark, wide tire mark on the road.

Hessler informs other police by radio about the collision and approaches the vehicle he was pursuing with a firearm drawn, commanding the male driver to put his hands up.

The footage shows that the front and driver’s side of the vehicle were damaged in the crash. Hessler attempts to open the locked rear driver’s side door before moving to the passenger’s side window, to talk to the driver. Hessler holds a flashlight and a gun while confirming that the suspect was not in critical condition and did not have weapons in the vehicle. The driver has blood on him and an injured leg, Hessler notes, and he instructs the man to stay put and to try and stay awake while he retrieves a medical kit from his police car.

In the footage, immediately after the officer retrieves the kit, he is approached by a man wearing jeans, white shoes and a gray shirt, and carrying a flashlight. The man tells Hessler the driver of the second vehicle is trapped in her car, and it is starting to smoke.

The footage shows Hessler walking toward the second vehicle holding a flashlight and medical kit. Witnesses to the crash are seen trying to help free Rodriguez-Garcia’s body from her vehicle.

The Independent Investigations Unit of the attorney general’s office, which investigates fatal encounters with police in Maryland, is continuing to examine the police pursuit that led to the deadly collision, according to the news release.

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