- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2007


A Montgomery County police officer hit by another officer’s cruiser early Wednesday morning died yesterday at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Officer Luke T. Hoffman, 24, joined the force in January 2006, the top graduate of his class at the police academy.

Yesterday, police arrested a 19-year-old man suspected of leading police on a chase during that led to the accident.

Ruel Dempster is charged with reckless endangerment and fleeing and eluding police. He is also charged with hit and run in connection with striking parked vehicles.

He faces up to five years in prison if convicted of reckless endangerment, while each of the other counts carries up to a year.

The incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. near Rossmore and Georgia avenues in the Aspen Hill area.

Officers had chased a man suspected of driving under the influence into the parking lot at an apartment complex. The suspect got out of his vehicle and ran toward a wooded area along Old Georgia Avenue.

Officer Hoffman got out of his cruiser and chased the man along the dimly lit road, police said. As he began to cross Old Georgia Avenue near Montpelier Road, he was struck by a police cruiser driven by Officer Stephen Wofsey, who was responding to provide backup for the officer.

Police spokesman Lt. Eric Burnett said Officer Wofsey was injured when his vehicle swerved off the road and down an embankment before striking a tree.

He also was taken to Shock Trauma and released later in the day.

After completing his field training in December, Officer Hoffman was assigned to the Wheaton District station. A graduate of McDaniel College, he also was a firefighter and emergency medical technician.

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