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Maryland driver charged after I-495 police pursuit ends with car flipping in Tysons

A Virginia State Police vehicle (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A Maryland driver has been arrested after leading police on an extended chase down the Capital Beltway yesterday (Monday) that crossed state lines and ended with a car flip in Tysons.

According to Montgomery County police, its officers were on the lookout for 26-year-old Frederick K. Njihia of Germantown after getting a report of a man shooting a rifle at people, including a local sanitation worker whose vehicle was hit multiple times.

No one was injured in the shooting, which occurred around 9:20 a.m., the Montgomery County Department of Police said.

The pursuit began when an officer spotted a blue Honda Civic matching the reported description of Njihia’s vehicle. Njihia shot at the police cruiser, flattening a front tire, and other officers pursued him on southbound I-270, police said.

Virginia State Police were notified about the pursuit at approximately 9:41 a.m. and took over once it crossed the American Legion Bridge and entered the state, according to a VSP news release.

Once the Honda Civic passed into Virginia on I-495, it exited onto Route 7 towards Tysons Corner. When it did a U-turn on Route 7 at Route 267/Dulles Toll Road, a Virginia State Police trooper administered a pursuit intervention technique by making contact with the suspect vehicle. The Honda Civic ran off the road, struck the Jersey wall, and overturned onto its roof.

With a pursuit intervention technique, also known as a precision immobilization technique or PIT manuever, police stop a vehicle by running into its rear, causing it to turn and often flip. The move has been the subject of some debate over its safety.

The crash closed all east and westbound lanes on Route 7 and required a medical response, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Virginia State Police reported that Njihia was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital “for treatment of minor injuries sustained when his vehicle overturned.”

The VSP has charged Njihia with eluding police, a felony, and reckless driving, a misdemeanor. He’s currently being detained without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Njihia also faces four counts of attempted murder and a count of first-degree assault with a firearm in Maryland.

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