Crime and Courts

Maryland teen repeatedly antagonized police before sergeant lost legs in crash: prosecutor

“You are a danger to the community,” a judge told the teen

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A Maryland teenager was ordered held without bond in court Thursday, a day after police say he intentionally crashed into a Montgomery County police sergeant whose legs have now been amputated.

Raphael Mayorga, 19, of Frederick, Maryland, was charged with attempted murder after the horrific crash before sunrise Wednesday.

“You are a danger to the community,” a judge told him on Thursday.

Court documents say Mayorga admitted to police that he knew he had hit Kepp.

Sgt. Patrick Kepp, 36, had surgery and faces a long recovery, fellow officers said.

County prosecutors say Mayorga has a long history of reckless driving, including baiting police into at least four high-speed chases in the past year.

Officers were so well-acquainted with Mayorga that they called his cellphone during some chases, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

“They knew who he was, he knew who they were and he dared them to try to catch him,” he said.

Kepp had encountered Mayorga several times before and filed a reckless driving arrest warrant for him in May, citing a “dozen prior driving incidents.”

In 2021, when Mayorga was still a minor, he allegedly fled a traffic stop and crashed into someone.

He allegedly said his lawyer would help him “beat any charges” and asked if sheriffs would come take away his “sniper rifle.”

“In the four previous chases, he outran the police,” McCarthy said. “There are limitations on police pursuit policies and what they’re allowed to do.”

Prosecutors say that at the time of the crash Wednesday, there was an active bench warrant in Montgomery County for Mayorga’s arrest because he had violated the terms of his bond on a previous charge.

Kepp is the ‘consummate optimist,’ a colleague said

Kepp has received several awards over the years for his work in getting dangerous drivers off the road.

Public safety is his passion, and he’s upbeat — even now, his colleagues said.

“Pat is the consummate optimist. He always seeks out the best in people and in situations,” Cmdr. Brian Dillman said.

“I had a texting conversation with him yesterday, and he said this has been a very difficult day in my life. He said, but, one day at a time, things will get better,” Dillman said.

McCarthy conveyed his sympathy for Kepp.

“Our prayers go out to this officer and his family, because he has profound, serious injuries that will disable him for the rest of his life as a result of this,” he said.

Mayorga is due in court several more times soon, related to prior charges.

If convicted for the attempted murder of Kepp, he could face up to life in prison.

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