Man Who Struck Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Assault

A Baltimore man who struck a police officer with his vehicle in Columbia pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and driving while impaired on Wednesday.


Johannes Pieter Vanderbaugh, 34, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree assault and driving while impaired after he struck a Howard County police officer with his car in January.

The incident occurred around 2:50 a.m. on Jan. 11 when officers responded to a report of a suspicious group of people near the 7700 block of Sweet Hours Way, according to the police report. One of the officers spotted Vanderbaugh nearby in a red 2004 Hyundai.

The officer asked Vanderbaugh to stop, but instead, police said Vanderbaugh accelerated, striking the officer and throwing him onto the hood of the Hyundai.

The officer continued to order Vanderbaugh to stop while striking the windshield with his flashlight, according to the report. Eventually Vanderbaugh stopped and was arrested, police said.

The officer required hospital treatment and suffered injuries to his hand, according to Les Gross, the Howard County prosecutor handling the case.

After a breathalyzer test, it was determined Vanderbaugh had a blood alcohol level of .07, according to the statement of facts.

Vanderbaugh admitted to the judge Wednesday that he had three to four beers before driving, but that he had waited an hour to sober up before he started to drive. He said before the incident he had had met up with some friends in Columbia near Hammond Woods.

"I grew up in Columbia," said Vanderbaugh. "But I stopped going to Columbia since that night."

Vanderbaugh said he now works at a convenience store in Baltimore.

After Vanderbaugh pleaded guilty, the judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation and a psychological evaluation.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place in December. The maximum penalty for second-degree assault is 10 years, according to the judge.

Outside of the courtroom, Vanderbaugh declined to comment on the case.

Gross said Vanderbaugh may receive a suspended sentence, but that "hitting a police officer with a car is very serious business."

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