ELKTON — A man is facing at least four years in sentences after a jury found him guilty of several charges Wednesday in a case in which he stood accused of stealing a Maryland State Police patrol car — after slipping out of his handcuffs at an Elkton accident scene — and of attempting to run over the trooper while fleeing.
Jurors deliberated approximately one hour at the end of a two-day Cecil County Circuit Court trial, before finding the defendant, Tyree Shauntel Jordan, 33, of Elkton, guilty of 11 charges, including second-degree escape, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, driving while under the influence of alcohol and fleeing and eluding a uniformed law enforcement officer.
The jury, however, acquitted Jordan of two of the most serious charges, first-degree assault, a felony that carries a maximum 25-year sentence, and second-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Several of Jordan’s convictions are expected to merge at sentencing, which is set for Sept. 24. Jordan will remain held without bond in the Cecil County Detention Center until then.
After the jury returned its guilty verdicts, Cecil County Circuit Court Judge Brenda A. Sexton denied a defense motion by Elkton-based lawyer C. Thomas Brown to reduce Jordan’s bond. The judge did so after Assistant State’s Attorney Nathaniel Bowen reported that Jordan had been convicted in 2012 for fleeing and eluding police and that his criminal record also shows a resisting arrest conviction.
“This is not the first time he has led police on a high-speed chase,” Bowen told the judge while objecting to the defense motion for bond reduction.
On Tuesday, during his opening statement to the jury, Brown conceded that Jordan was guilty of some of the case’s lesser charges and even listed them, including fleeing and eluding a police officer.
“I’m going to tell you right now he’s guilty of some crimes ... Mr. Jordan is guilty of escape. He did a stupid thing,” Brown acknowledged at one point, referring specifically to a charge that carries a maximum three-year penalty.
But then Brown maintained that Jordan was innocent of any theft or unlawful-taking charges relating to the MSP cruiser.
“My argument is, in order to steal, you’re intending to permanently deprive him of his property. My client was just trying to get away,” Brown told the jury, which, based on the guilty verdicts it returned a day later, ultimately did not agree with the defense lawyer’s assessment.
Brown also contended that Jordan was innocent of first-degree assault and second-degree assault, telling jurors that his client was not trying to run over MSP Trooper Curtis Henry, shortly after stealing his police cruiser, but that he simply was trying to flee the scene. Based on the assault acquittals, Brown successfully swayed the jurors.
In his opening statement, Bowen told the jurors that law enforcement officers witnessed the acts that resulted in the criminal charges against Jordan and that, in a few instances, dash-cams and surveillance cameras videotaped some of them.
“This is not a whodunnit,” Bowen told the jury.
The incident started shortly before 3 p.m. Jan. 14, after troopers assigned to the North East Barrack responded to a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of East Pulaski Highway (U.S. Route 40) and Melbourne Boulevard.
Jordan was one of the drivers involved in that crash, which did not cause injuries, police noted.
Police said Jordan was driving a gray 2012 Mazda 3 in the eastbound lane of U.S. Route 40 when he ran a red light at the Melbourne Boulevard intersection. At that time, a white Toyota Camry driven by Walter Samuel Chicosky, 79, of Elkton, had entered that intersection from southbound Melbourne Boulevard — where Chicosky had a green light — as he attempted to make a left turn onto eastbound U.S. Route 40, police added.
Jordan’s Mazda crashed into the passenger’s side of Chicosky’s Camry, as Jordan ran the red light, police reported.
MSP Trooper Curtis Henry testified Tuesday that he arrested Jordan on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol, after Jordan had unsatisfactorily performed field-sobriety tests in the wake of the collision.
Henry told jurors that he handcuffed Jordan, with the suspect’s hands behind his back, and that he placed him in the front-passenger’s seat of his running MSP 2012 Chevrolet Caprice cruiser and then fastened the seatbelt — all according to agency protocol.
The trooper testified that, moments later, he was standing about 30 feet away from his parked patrol car while handing a tow truck driver the keys to Jordan’s inoperable vehicle, when he heard a revving engine. When he turned to investigate the sound, he saw Jordan — now in the driver’s seat of the MSP patrol car, his hands somehow free — speeding away from the scene, according to Henry.
After seeing Jordan make a left turn onto nearby Melbourne Boulevard and then a right into the Elkton Crossing shopping center, Henry chased on foot while another trooper who had been at the crash scene pursued the suspect in his police cruiser, Henry testified.
Jordan drove behind the Food Lion there and, after he reappeared in front of that grocery store, Henry attempted to block the stolen MSP patrol car with his body. Henry demonstrated his tactic to the jury at trial, after testifying that he held his drawn agency-issued handgun at his side with his right hand while holding his left arm up and repeatedly ordering, “Stop.”
“He proceeded directly at me at a high rate of speed. He came within 10 feet of striking me and I jumped (out of the way),” Henry testified, after estimating that Jordan was 150 feet away when he started driving at him.
Moments later, Jordan struck a Singerly Volunteer Fire Co. of Elkton fire engine that had been dispatched for the initial crash, before speeding away eastward from the scene.
MSP troopers in agency vehicles chased Jordan eastbound on U.S. Route 40 into Delaware, where he lost control of the stolen patrol car on Glasgow Avenue, near the People’s Plaza shopping center, and crashed into a tree, police said, adding that authorities arrested Jordan there. Jordan had driven the stolen patrol car less than 5 miles, before crashing into the tree, MSP officials noted shortly after the incident.