This story was updated at 9:15 a.m. Aug. 21.
Members of Prince George’s County and the law enforcement community are mourning the loss of one of their own after a 23-year-old county police officer was pursuing a theft from auto suspect when he lost control of his cruiser and crashed off the roadway on I-95 Monday afternoon, killing himself and injuring an officer who was riding with him
Adrian Morris, of Laurel, a two-and-a-half-year veteran with the county department, died from his injuries at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly. The second officer, an adult male, was hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries but has since been treated and released, said county police.
During a press conference at Prince George’s Hospital Monday evening, Police Chief Mark Magaw said two the officers were investigating a call for a theft from auto in the Beltsville area when they discovered someone driving a silver Acura believed to be involved in the crime. The officers pursued the Acura traveling on I-95 South when Morris lost control of the cruiser near Powder Mill Road. Magaw said the officers were attempting to determine the license plate number of the Acura during the pursuit but could only make out that it had temporary tags.
County police are now investigating by seeking the silver Acura that the officers had been pursuing and asking for those who witnessed the pursuit or crash to notify police or Prince George’s County Crime Solvers.
“What i ask from everyone is their thoughts and prayers for the officers’ families, this department and this county as we go through this very difficult time,” Magaw said Monday. “They did great work today. They were investigating a theft or attempt theft from auto when they saw a vehicle that they believed was a suspect’s vehicle and attempted to get behind it and at some point lost control of their vehicle and left the roadway. It’s tragic but it just shows the courage and dedication of these officers, so I’m very proud of them.”
Police did say Morris was ejected from his cruiser when he crashed and whether he had been wearing a seat belt at the time is still being investigated, Magaw said.
Morris was an officer in the bureau of patrol assigned to the District 6 station in Beltsville. Magaw said he had been pursuing a career in law enforcement since he was 15 or 16 years old when he joined PGPD’s Explorers program, a youth program led by county police officers geared toward law enforcement training. According to police, Morris was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Laurel, where he became a U.S. citizen in 2009. He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School where he graduated in 2007.
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said he is thankful to the men and women in the county police department for their service and encouraged members of the community to pray for those impacted by the incident and the loss of Morris.
“This is a family. All of the Prince George’s County government is going to wrap its arms around these two officers and the rest of their colleagues to make sure we get through this,” Baker said.
Magaw said there are “dangers in everything we do” and that all officers in the department work on their driving skills and skills relating to pursuing suspects at the very beginning of their police training.
County police have authorized an up to $25,000 cash reward for any tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the motorist Morris and the second officers were pursuing. Those with information are asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.