Guilty plea in Glen Rock cop-dragging case
One of three Maryland residents accused of dragging a Southern Regional police officer about 125 feet with their car in 2015 has admitted to his role in the incident.
Roberto Tabares Jr., 39, of Rockville, pleaded guilty Monday in York County Court to aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, according to court records.
Tabares remains in York County Prison on $50,000 bail awaiting sentencing, which is set for 1:30 p.m. June 29 before presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness.
The trial is scheduled to begin next week for his co-defendants, 37-year-old David Achstetter, of Gaithersburg, and Jenny Kim, 39, of Germantown, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.
Achstetter and Kim remain free on bail, according to court records.
Another year in jail: Senior deputy prosecutor Jonathan Blake said Tabares' plea agreement calls for him to serve 11½ to 23 months in York County Prison and requires him to waive his right to credit for time served.
Tabares has been in York County Prison since Nov. 18, 2015, according to prison records.
Basically, he must serve another year in prison before he can be released, and Blake said after that, he will be returned to Maryland, which has lodged a criminal detainer against him.
His plea agreement does not require him to testify against his alleged accomplices, Blake confirmed.
The prosecutor said he can't discuss the case in detail until the cases against all three defendants are resolved, but he was able to confirm that negotiations are ongoing with Kim's attorney.
Tom Kelley, Tabares' defense attorney, said Tabares had to weigh pleading guilty against the likelihood that, if convicted, he was facing state prison time.
"He was looking at a fairly substantial sentence if he was convicted," Kelley said.
The background: Officer Michael Storeman suffered bumps, bruises and injuries to his hips, legs and ankle during the Nov. 4, 2015, incident in Glen Rock.
He was 40 years old at the time, Chief Jim Boddington has said. Storeman returned to work less than two months later, senior deputy prosecutor Jonathan Blake has said.
Storeman was called to the CS Convenience Store at the corner of Main and Water streets shortly before 5 p.m. for a report of a suspicious vehicle in the lot, police said.
Court documents state that when Storeman approached the Toyota Camry, he saw Kim in the back seat injecting herself in the arm using a syringe he believed contained heroin.
The Camry's front passenger window was down, so Storeman tried to open that door, but Achstetter grabbed Storeman's arm and held on, effectively pinning Storeman against the car, documents allege.
That's when Tabares, who was behind the wheel, took off, speeding south on Water Street and dragging Storeman, who was repeatedly yelling at them to stop, according to police.
Cop hit parked car: Tabares drove into the opposing lane and went around two vehicles stopped for the stop sign at Water and Hanover streets, at which point Storeman's body struck the driver's side of one of the stopped vehicles, documents state.
It was shortly after hitting the vehicle that either Storeman broke free of Achstetter or Achstetter released him, charging documents state.
The officer fell onto the road and rolled another 50 feet or so, police said.
The Camry kept going, but police later tracked down it and its occupants through the car's license plate number, documents state.
"I think this is the worst injury I've seen to one of my officers," Boddington said at the time. "This could have ended up much worse."
Charges against Achstetter include aggravated assault, hindering the apprehension of a suspect and reckless endangerment, while Kim is charged with conspiracy to commit those offenses. Achstetter also is charged with unlawful restraint.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.