Montgomery police charge woman in bizarre Walter Reed hit-and-run incident -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 24, 2012

The woman who led police on a bizarre chase that started in Virginia and made its way onto the Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda faces a charge of first-degree assault, police said Wednesday.

Angela Akosua Cobbold, 27, of the 7800 block of Blue Gray Circle in Manassas, Va., was arrested by Montgomery County police shortly after the incident, during which a Walter Reed security officer shot at the woman as she allegedly attempted to hit him with her car. She was finally arrested at the scene of a traffic collision near the intersection of Nebel Street and Old Georgetown Road in Rockville, said county police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks.

Montgomery county police said Wednesday charges filed against the woman include first-degree assault and reckless endangerment. However, a Montgomery County court commissioner did not find probable cause for the reckless endangerment charge and it was dropped, according to Montgomery County police spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti. Cobbold is being held in on a $20,000 bond and is scheduled for a bond review hearing today at 1 p.m. in a Montgomery County courtroom.

Immediately following her arrest Tuesday, she was taken to the hospital for an evaluation, Starks said.

Police believe Cobbold was first spotted by Virginia State Troopers at 11:25 a.m. when she passed through a speed trap on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 66 near the Beltway going 93 mph in a 50 mph zone, Starks said. Virginia troopers followed Cobbold, who was driving a black Mitsubishi, but dropped their pursuit as she crossed into Maryland after alerting Maryland State troopers of her vehicle make and model, Starks added.

“Then we jump to about 11:50 a.m. when a vehicle matching that description enters the Walter Reed facility on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda,” Starks said.

Before reaching a manned checkpoint to enter the campus, Cobbold was involved in an accident with another vehicle as she made a U-turn to exit back onto Rockville Pike, Starks said.

“At this point, security personnel walks up to her and attempt to engage her and they observe her biting or eating what appears to be a bar of soap and she spits or throws some of it out onto the pavement,” Starks said. “When the light turns green, she drives off [onto Rockville Pike].”

Cobbold was observed turning into a nearby parking garage for the Medical Center Metro station next to the National Institutes of Health facility down the road, but within minutes she had driven back to the scene of the collision in the Walter Reed entrance roadway, Starks said.

By this time, a Department of Defense police officer was waiting for her, Starks said.

“He exited his vehicle and approached her driver’s side but she would not roll down her windows or acknowledge him,” Starks said.

The officer broke two of the Mitsubishi’s windows in an attempt to reach Cobbold, but she threw the car into reverse, backed into his police cruiser and again fled the scene, this time driving her car up over the curb and sidewalk to drive back toward Rockville Pike on the grass, Starks said.

“It is at that point that another federal officer allegedly discharged his firearm as her vehicle was driving toward his position in the intersection with [Md.] 355,” he said.

The bullet appeared to have struck Cobbold’s car, but she was able to continue fleeing, turning onto Rockville Pike and driving against traffic to head north in the southbound lanes for at least 100 yards, Starks said. Cobbold finally was arrested after she crashed her car into a construction area adjacent to the Harris Teeter grocery store on Nebel Street, police said.

The officer who was in the vehicle that was struck in the incident at Walter Reed was taken to Suburban Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to a Naval base release.

Montgomery County police are handling the investigation into the shooting, Starks said, citing the location where the shooting took place.

“They’re the ones that fired one round, but the shot was fired on county property so we have our major crimes doing the shooting investigation as is our policy in all shootings,” he said.

jarias@gazette.net