Montgomery County Police have released the names of both the officer who was struck on I-270 yesterday morning and the driver of the vehicle who struck him.
At about 1:20 am on Thursday, March 30 Montgomery County Police Officer Robert Sagona of the Sixth District in Montgomery Village was struck by a 2011 Subaru Forrester driven by 19-year-old Germantown residents Hunter Lee White, according to police.
Officer Sagona has been with MCPD for four years and was transported to a hospital by helicopter with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. He remains hospitalized in stable condition.
The MCPD Collision Reconstruction Unit was called to the scene to investigate the events surrounding Officer Sagona being struck. According to MCPD spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti, the investigation is ongoing, and White may face charges, but nothing has been determined at the time of publication. However, it is not believed that White was in any way connected to the pursuit of the Impala.
According to police, the incident began just after midnight when Officer Sagona, who was traveling north on I-270 in his patrol car, spotted a black Chevrolet Impala driving erratically at a high rate of speed. After checking the Impala’s license plate, it was determined that the plates on the Impala were not registered to the vehicle. Working on the premise that the vehicle may have been stolen, Officer Sagona attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle, the driver failed to stop and continued to drive north on I-270. A pursuit of the vehicle was initiated.
Officers from the 5th District-Germantown were alerted to the pursuit and deployed Stop Sticks on the northbound lanes of the roadway; the Impala ran over the Stop Sticks and the suspect vehicle’s tires were deflated, and the vehicle was rendered inoperable. Two occupants of the vehicle then fled from the vehicle on I-270 just south of the exit for Clarksburg Road, according to police.
Officers from the Gaithersburg Police Department, the Maryland-National Capital Park Police Department-Montgomery County Division, and troopers from the Maryland State Police assisted in the search for the suspects. A Maryland State Police helicopter was also called to assist. The suspects were not located.
Police officials said that during the search for the two suspects, Officer Sagona had walked from the northbound lanes of I-270 to the southbound lanes. When the search was suspended at approximately 1:20 am, Officer Sagona began to return to his vehicle, which was parked on the northbound portion of I-270. A Maryland State Trooper had positioned his marked vehicle to block the far right, southbound lane. The driver of a 2011 Subaru Forrester, who was traveling south, moved from the right lane to avoid the MSP cruiser and struck Officer Sagona who was in the middle lane.
Officer Sagona was airlifted to a hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries by the MSP Helicopter that had come to assist in the search for the suspects. The suspected stolen vehicle investigation is being conducted by MCPD’s Central Auto Theft Section.