UPDATE: Bryans Road Man Pleads Guilty to the Negligent Vehicular Manslaughter of Victim

September 15, 2023

UPDATE 9/15/2023: Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, Joseph Eugene Penn, 43, of Bryans Road, entered a guilty plea in Charles County Circuit Court, in front of the Honorable Judge William R. Greer, Jr., to the Negligent Vehicular Manslaughter of Inga Person.

On January 20, 2022, an officer located in the area of Smallwood Village Center and St. Charles Parkway attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a Toyota Camry operated by Penn. Penn fled from the officer into a nearby parking lot then drove back onto St. Charles Parkway at a high rate of speed.

Another officer responding to the fleeing vehicle observed the vehicle lose control on a curve on St. Charles Parkway, by the intersection of St. Marks Drive, and travel off the left side of the roadway, striking numerous trees. Person was ejected from the vehicle during the collision.

Penn was seen exiting the driver’s door of the vehicle and fleeing into the woods. Emergency Medical Services attempted life-saving measures on Person, but she, unfortunately, succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Numerous officers responded to the area and were able to locate Penn in a nearby neighborhood. Penn was transported to the hospital for a minor injury sustained from the crash.

During the investigation, Penn admitted to seeing the officer activate his lights and he “took off” because he had open warrants and had ingested cocaine. At the time of the incident, Penn had open arrest warrants for failing to appear in court for a Theft over $25,000 charge.

A sentencing date for Penn has been scheduled for October 25, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. He faces up to ten years in prison for this offense.

UPDATE 2/9/2022: The Independent Investigations Division of the Office of the Attorney General released dashboard camera footage from the fatal police pursuit that occurred on January 20, 2022, in Charles County, Maryland.

The decedent was identified as 52-year-old Inga Person of Washington, D.C.

Joseph Eugene Penn, 41, of Suitland (booking photo from 2017)

Joseph Eugene Penn, 41, of Suitland (booking photo from 2017)

UPDATE 1/21/2022: On January 20, 2022, shortly after 8:00 p.m., a Charles County Sheriff’s officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a Toyota Camry in the area of St. Charles Parkway near St. Ignatius Drive.

The driver pulled into a nearby parking lot but failed to stop. The driver accelerated through the parking lot of a business and at one point abruptly stopped and then quickly put his car in reverse, accelerating backward toward the officer’s car. The driver then went forward and began driving on St. Charles Parkway at a very high rate of speed. The officer followed the driver northbound on St. Charles Parkway but temporarily lost sight of the car as it darted in front of another vehicle near a curve in the road. The officer then noticed debris from a crash in the roadway and initially thought it was unrelated; however, as he went to assist he observed it was the vehicle that had fled. The driver ran from the car. A female passenger was located on the ground near the car and with life-threatening injuries. Officers and emergency medical workers attempted life-saving measures, including CPR, but the woman was pronounced deceased. The woman, who is not being identified pending notification to the next of kin, is in her early 50’s.

Numerous officers conducted a coordinated search for the driver with the assistance of a tracking K-9 and helicopter. After several minutes, officers located the driver in a nearby neighborhood and he was taken into custody. He had a minor injury from the crash and was transported to a hospital.

In accordance with Maryland law, the Office of the Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division (IID) and the Maryland State Police (MSP) was contacted and responded to the scene to lead the investigation.

The driver of the car was identified as Joseph Eugene Penn, 41, of Suitland. Investigators learned Penn had an open warrant through Charles County Circuit Court for failure to appear on a felony theft case and an active civil warrant.

It was also learned narcotics might have been a contributing factor in the crash. Additional criminal charges for Penn are being reviewed in consultation with the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Investigators are trying to identify the occupants of two vehicles that were in the area who may have witnessed the crash and are asking anyone with additional information about this incident to call the Office of the Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division at 410-576-7070. The investigation is ongoing.

1/20/2022: On Thursday, January 20, 2022, at approximately 8:00 p.m., a Charles County Sheriff’s Office Deputy attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of St Thomas Drive and Aldermans Place, the vehicle did not stop and fled at a high rate of speed.

Less than 4 minutes later, the vehicle crashed in the area of St. Charles Parkway and St. Marks Drive in Waldorf, and the first arriving officer reported one subject running into the wooded area.

Additional officers arrived on the scene and located an unknown aged female laying unconscious in the roadway with serious injuries. Fire and rescue personnel were dispatched for a motor vehicle collision reported serious.

Before the arrival of fire and rescue personnel, officers reported CPR in progress.

The female victim was pronounced deceased on the scene a short time after emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene.

Maryland State Police Helicopter Trooper 2 was pre-launched to land nearby, however, they were diverted to the search for the fleeing operator of the vehicle when the victim was pronounced deceased. Trooper 2 was then cancelled after police located the operator.

Fire and rescue personnel responded to the area of Weeping Willow Court and Hyacinth Place in Waldorf where police apprehended the suspected operator. Emergency medical personnel evaluated the suspect for injuries. It is unknown if he was transported.

Police determined the passenger of the fleeing vehicle was ejected from the vehicle, where she succumbed to her injuries on the scene.

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident and collision.

Updates will be provided when they become available.