What to Know
- Trooper Ezra Ganeshananda, 26, was parked on the shoulder of the Beltway when a Mercedes slammed into his car, police said.
- Police believe the Mercedes driver had just fled the scene of a hit-and-run.
- The driver, who also was hospitalized, will face criminal charges, authorities said.
The Capital Beltway was partially closed in Maryland for nearly four hours Thursday after a chain-reaction car crash that left a Maryland State Police trooper with critical injuries.
The section of the Outer Loop of the Beltway (I-495) reopened about 6 p.m. Thursday after a closure that left drivers in bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles.
Trooper Ezra Ganeshananda, 26, was parked on the shoulder of the Beltway north of Annapolis Road (Route 450) and was wrapping up an investigation of a single-car crash when the driver of a 2011 Mercedes Benz C300 slammed into his car, police said.
Police believe that driver, whom police identified Thursday night, had just fled the scene of a possible hit-and-run.
Ganeshananda's car was hit a second time when a tow truck hit the Mercedes, pushing the Mercedes into the trooper's car again and trapping him inside.
Another tow truck driver stopped and used his truck to pull the Mercedes off the patrol car, police said.
Crews pried Ganeshananda out of the car, and a Maryland State Police helicopter landed on the Beltway and rushed the trooper to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, state police said.
Ganeshananda, a road patrol trooper, remained in critical condition Friday.
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Ganeshananda, who has been on the job less than a year, is stationed at the College Park Barracks. Fellow troopers, including his brother, were with him Thursday evening as his treatment continued.
Video footage shot from Chopper4 showed three cars with significant damage.
Maryland State Police identified the driver of the Mercedes as 60-year-old Prasad Yadavalli, of Galloway Township, New Jersey.
Yadavalli is believed to have been involved in a hit-and-run crash on the Outer Loop up to a mile or more south of the trooper, authorities said.
Police said it was unknown whether Yadavalli caused the hit-and-run, or was struck by a vehicle that did not stop. However, police said a preliminary investigation indicated Yadavalli struck three vehicles in the fast lane on the Outer Loop before he hit the patrol car.
Witnesses saw the Mercedes driving down the right shoulder of the interstate before it struck the rear of the patrol car, they told investigators.
Yadavalli, who also was hospitalized, will face criminal charges, Cpl. Devaughn Parker said.
"There will be charges here, coming soon," he said. "We're going to consult with the state's attorney's office to make sure all charges are appropriate."