DENTON, Md. (WUSA9) -- Maryland State Police say an off-duty state trooper was dragged by a car when the driver fled the scene in Caroline County on Wednesday night. New information suggests the trooper may have tried to intervene in an incident involving three teens trying to push a trash can with a car.
Police say the trooper is an eight-year veteran of the Maryland State Police assigned to the Easton Barrack. They say the trooper is being treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. the trooper was originally listed in critical condition but shortly before noon on Thursday, police say he was upgraded to serious condition. He remains at the hospital for treatment.
According to police, the preliminary investigation indicated that at 7:15 p.m., the trooper was traveling off-duty in the area of 7th Street and Market Street in Denton when he saw people in a car ahead of him. Police say the people appeared to be involved in some type of vandalism. The trooper exited his car and approached the car ahead of him on foot, say police.
While the trooper was talking with the three people in the car, who were apparently juveniles, police believe the driver accelerated and the trooper was somehow dragged by the vehicle down the road. Police say eventually the trooper dislodged from the vehicle and fell to the road. Then, the suspect vehicle fled the scene.
The trooper was flown by a Maryland State Police helicopter to the Shock Trauma Center.
State and local police located the suspect vehicle and three people were questioned by State Police investigators. Thursday, police say the teens were released and no charges were filed.
Police say new information indicates the 17-year-old driver and his two firends "encountered one or more trash cans in the road" and the driver tried to push the can out of the way with his car. A passenger reached out fo the car and grabbed the can, trying to move it further out of the path of the car, say police. That's when the trooper drove up behind them in his personal car. The trooper was wearing plainclothes and did not show his badge or ID card as he approached the group.
The driver was startled, police believe, and "may have instinctively accelerated away out of concern for his safety." Police say the trooper was "in contact with the car" and dragged down the street for some time.
The investigation is continuing, say police.