- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Maraie Plaia slowed down her Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle as she saw a man standing in the middle of River Road in Potomac on Tuesday night, frantically waving his arms. She rolled down the window as he approached, saying his daughter needed help.

But once he was at the car, the 230-pound man opened the car door, grabbed Mrs. Plaia, hurled her to the pavement and got into the SUV. Mrs. Plaia frantically opened the back door and tried to loosen the seat belt of her 3-year-old son, but the man sped off before she could pull the boy free. Also in the car was her 18-month-old daughter.

“It’s every parent’s nightmare what the victim went through as she struggled to get him out of the car,” Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah Armstrong said yesterday.

The carjacking, detailed in charging documents filed yesterday, was part of a bizarre two-hour car chase Tuesday night.

The pursuit — involving police helicopters, scores of officers and two stolen cars — unfolded over more than 100 miles between Baltimore and the Washington suburbs before ending in Anne Arundel County about 10 p.m.

Carl E. Jones Jr., 31, of Chesapeake Beach, Md., was charged with six counts, including carjacking, theft, assault and the kidnapping of Mrs. Plaia’s two children. Paul Plaia and his sister, Edie, were unharmed after they were taken on the wild ride.

A bond review for Jones yesterday was postponed one day because his attorney did not appear in District Court for the hearing.

Jones, who appeared by closed-circuit television before the hearing was postponed, had bandages wrapped around both forearms. He is being held without bond. Doctors treated Jones for minor injuries at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

The charging documents show Jones has a lengthy criminal history, including arrests for theft, escape, assault on a corrections officer, auto theft, possession of a controlled substance and robbery.

The only explanation he gave police for the chase was that he had been threatened by “an unknown subject,” the documents said.

At 8 p.m., Baltimore police chased a stolen Infiniti whose driver had tried to run down an officer near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue. A man reportedly was ejected from the car during that pursuit.

The chase continued, at speeds of up to 140 mph, down Interstate 95 and onto the outer loop of the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, where the Infiniti pulled onto River Road. Jones told police the Infiniti ran out of gas, the charging documents said.

Jones abandoned the car there and flagged down Mrs. Plaia in her Mercedes, took it and drove off with Paul and Edie in the back, police said.

“It’s hard to conceive he didn’t know these children were in the back,” Miss Armstrong said.

Police said they had few options for stopping the SUV with the two children as passengers, but were able to monitor the children’s safety through communications devices in the vehicle.

From Potomac, the driver led authorities along interstates in Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties, and back again.

The car was eastbound on Route 50, nearing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, when the driver turned around and headed back on the divided highway toward Annapolis with police behind him.

About 10 p.m., the SUV was nearing the Anne Arundel County border with Prince George’s County on westbound Route 50 when it was stopped by heavily armed police after it slowed in traffic and was cut off and bumped by another vehicle, apparently a police cruiser.

The children were reunited with their parents at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where they were taken by a state police helicopter for checkups, police said.

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