- The Washington Times - Monday, August 27, 2012

The man suspected of being the driver of a stolen car that led a pair of Prince George’s County police officers on a fatal car chase on Interstate 95 tried to change his appearance to avoid being arrested, prosecutors said at a court hearing Monday.

Kevon Darnell Neal, 23, of Fort Washington appeared in Prince George’s County District Court for a bond review Monday. Despite the fatal crash that killed 23-year-old police Officer Adrian Morris, Mr. Neal is currently charged only with theft between $10,000 and $100,000 and being rogue and vagabond. County police officials said Friday that they are still pursuing additional charges against both him and a passenger in the car.

Mr. Neal was initially held on a $75,000 bond after turning himself in to police custody on Thursday. Noting that he had violated his probation for charges filed earlier in Montgomery County, District Court Judge Patrice E. Lewis ordered him held without bond.

During the court hearing Monday, at which Mr. Neal appeared via closed-circuit television, prosecutor Sam Danai said that since the fatal accident Aug. 20, Mr. Neal “altered his appearance for fear of getting caught.” Mr. Danai did not elaborate on what changes Mr. Neal made to his appearance.

Kenneth C. Mitchell, 24, was arrested in the District the day after the fatal car crash as he went to get back into the stolen Acura TL that police were pursuing when the crash occurred. On Monday, he remained in custody in the District on charges that he failed to appear in court for a charge of possession of marijuana filed in November. County police have said he will face charges of auto theft. It was unclear when he would be transferred to Prince George’s County.

The Acura was reported stolen from a gas station in Beltsville on Aug. 19. The next day, it was used in a theft in Burtonsville and later described as the vehicle that two men were in as they pulled up to a Laurel gas station that day and tried to enter several vehicles parked there.

Officer Morris and Officer Michael Risher responded to the Laurel gas station and were talking to witnesses when the Acura was spotted again. The officers got in a patrol car and were pursuing the vehicle on Interstate 95 when the Acura swerved, causing a chain reaction of drivers, including the police cruiser.

Officer Morris lost control of the cruiser, and it veered into a ditch. He was ejected from the car and died from severe head trauma. The other officer survived.

Officer Morris‘ funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Woodstream Church in Mitchellville.

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