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Driver batters police cruisers



Date published: 12/5/2012

BY KEITH EPPS

A Timberville man was charged with numerous offenses--including two counts of attempted capital murder of a police officer--after a pursuit early Tuesday during which he rammed three police cruisers, police said.

The chase started in Stafford County and ended on Interstate 95 in Spotsylvania County.

The only person injured was a Stafford deputy who hurt his back, police said. State Trooper N.W. Koslicki's cruiser was rammed twice, but he was not injured.

Francis Raymond Calewarts, 61, was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.

According to Stafford sheriff's spokesman Bill Kennedy, the pursuit started about 5:08 a.m. when Deputy Joseph Massine saw Calewarts driving a pickup truck south on U.S. 1. Massine and other deputies had spotted Calewarts about a half-hour earlier at the Walt Lou trailer park, where they'd been called for a domestic situation.

Calewarts was not involved in that altercation, but he was in the home, Kennedy said. While checking on the people in the trailer, deputies noticed that Calewarts had a suspended license and warned him not to drive.

Massine saw Calewarts 30 minutes later and pulled up beside him. When he attempted to stop the truck, Calewarts turned west onto U.S. 17 and headed toward the Falmouth I-95 interchange.

He got onto I-95 southbound and picked up speed as Massine notified other officers what was going on. Two state troopers who were on the interstate assisted Massine, along with other deputies.

The officers boxed the truck in at one point, Kennedy said, but the driver rammed Massine's cruiser and kept going. He got off I-95 at the Fredericksburg exit and drove up and down an embankment several times, at one point striking a chain-link fence near some Central Park restaurants.

Police finally stopped the vehicle after it got back onto the interstate, but this time the truck rammed Deputy Kevin Kortman's cruiser and took off yet again.

The truck was boxed in yet again near a metal railing on the right shoulder near the 127-mile marker in Spotsylvania, where the driver got out of the truck and ran into the woods.

Calewarts tripped and fell and was taken into custody without further incident. He was checked out at an area hospital before being placed in jail.

Calewarts' daughter, Erica, was riding with her father during the pursuit. She was charged with being drunk in public. Kennedy said police felt fortunate that traffic was light at the time.

Francis Calewarts was also charged in Stafford with driving on a suspended license, felony eluding, two counts of destruction of property, two counts of hit-and-run, reckless driving and driving without insurance.

State police charged Calewarts with two more counts of hit-and-run and two counts of reckless driving. State police Sgt. Les Tyler said Koslicki's cruiser was struck in both Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com