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Md. officer loses use of legs after driver ‘intentionally’ hit him

Sgt. Patrick Kepp, 36, was hit while deploying spike strips on the interstate by a driver who has intentionally baited officers to pursue him on roadways in the county in the past


Sgt. Patrick Kepp (left) and Chief Marcus Jones (right) at an awards ceremony in 2021.

Montgomery County Police

By Joanna Putman

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — A Maryland officer has lost the use of his legs after being intentionally struck by a suspected drunk driver this morning, WTOP reported.

Montgomery County Police Sgt. Patrick Kepp, 36, remains in “critical condition” and has “lost the use of both of his legs,” Chief Marcus Jones said in a news conference.

The driver, Raphael Mayorga, 19, was speeding at rates of up to 110 mph leading up to the incident. Officers decided to pursue him when he ran another driver off the road, according to the report.

Kepp parked in the crossover of the interstate before getting out of his car to deploy spike strips.

“The vehicle is observed actually intentionally moving from the middle lanes to the far-left lanes and Mayorga came directly at Sgt. Kepp as he was deploying the ‘stop sticks,’” Jones said. “He intentionally struck Sgt. Kepp in the main lanes of I-270.”

Mayorga kept driving until he was stopped further down the interstate with spike strips by another officer, according to the report.

Mayorga is being charged with first-degree attempted murder, as well as other charges. He has been known to “provoke officers into chasing him” in the past.

“He does this intentionally to bait officers into chasing him as if this is some sort of a video game,” Jones said.

“This should not be treated as a regular traffic incident and we should talk to our legislators about a way of criminalizing (provoking officers to pursue) in a different way,” County Executive Marc Elrich said.

Kepp has worked for the department since 2014, according to the report. He’s been acknowledged in the past for his efforts to prevent impaired driving and has received awards for his work with the alcohol initiatives unit twice in recent years, according to the police department.