Police Standoff Closed Capital Beltway
The Washington, D.C. Beltway was shut down this morning because of a police standoff with a Honda.
Maryland State Police closed the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County for an hour at the height of rush hour this morning, snarling traffic for miles in both directions, after occupants of a apparently stolen car refused to leave the vehicle and identify themselves.
First Sgt. Russell Newell said a trooper on routine patrol about 8 a.m. spotted the gold Honda sedan stopped in the breakdown lane of the inner loop, between the exits for Route 1 and Kenilworth Avenue.
The trooper checked the license plates and found that the car had been reported stolen, then told the two people inside to disembark, Newell said. When they refused to do so, the trooper called for backup.
More than a dozen police vehicles sped to the scene. Officers crouched behind the open doors of their cars, trained their weapons on the Honda and shut down the eight-lane highway in both directions.
Traffic reporters said backups stretched as far as I-270 to the west and the Baltimore Washington Parkway to the east.
The tense standoff was capture on live television by a traffic helicopter working for Fox 5 News. According to the television footage, some commuters were able to pull off onto an access road, but hundreds of others were trapped with no place to go. “Because of the safety issues, we have to keep the Beltway closed,” Newell told Fox 5 about 8:30 a.m. He said officers were concerned that the occupants of the car might be armed.
At 8:53 a.m., a team of troopers and police dogs approached the sedan, wrestled two men out of the car and dragged them across several lanes of asphalt, cuffing their hands behind their backs. Both men were wearing blue jeans; one was in a bright yellow shirt, and the other’s shirt was white.
Police then searched the vehicle, and the Beltway was reopened about 9 a.m. Newell said it was not yet known whether the men were armed, or suspected of stealing the Honda. It was not immediately clear whether the men would be charged in connection with the incident.
One would think there would be a way to handle a potential stolen car, pulled over to the side of the road, without closing the major artery through the metropolitan area with the worst traffic in the country. The cost in lost man hours is simply mindboggling.