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Report: Man Who Died In Police Custody Consumed Cocaine Prior To Arrest

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WHITE MARSH, Md. (WJZ) — A wild police chase from Harford County into Baltimore County ends with a man dying after being tased and placed in handcuffs.

Mike Hellgren takes a closer look at exactly what happened.

Police: “Coming up on Joppa Road. Speed’s about 40 miles-per-hour. We’ve got no traffic.”

WJZ obtained recordings of the police response as Harford County sheriff’s deputies pursued a man in a pickup truck from Mountain Road and Philadelphia Road to a traffic circle at Joppa Road and Cowenton Avenue in Baltimore County.

One witness describes the wild scene.

“It was like Fourth of July. All these red and blue and white and their lights flashing,” said Rob Commodari. “Must have been, I don’t know, 15 cop cars, ambulance, fire engine.”

Authorities say it started as they were investigating 30-year-old Arvel Williams for some suspicious activity.

Police: “That’s right. I’ve got the whole intersection shut down.”

The pickup truck barreled through a median, according to police, and it slammed into a Baltimore County police car.

“What you saw was a pickup truck, head on with a cop car,” said Commodari.

After Williams crashed into the police cruiser, Harford County deputies confronted him. They say he resisted arrest and they used tasers on him.

Police will not say how many times Williams was hit, but that he was talking to deputies before suddenly having a medical emergency. Preliminary findings indicate he consumed cocaine prior to being arrested, as evidenced in the recordings WJZ obtained.

Police: “He was on something or he had something on his right hand, either a phone or something else. Couldn’t see. Like I said, suspect swallowed a large amount of C.D.S.”

Doctors pronounced Williams dead at a hospital less than an hour after the pursuit began.

“I couldn’t see the truck, but the police car you could see it was banged up in the front pretty bad. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen anything like that here,” said Al Willick.

Williams’ body has been taken to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

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