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Trucker gets 21 years for I-81 chase through Md.

Associated Press

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) – A Mississippi truck driver has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for a drug-fueled chase on Interstate 81 through Maryland in which he targeted police and caused four collisions.

Forty-three-year-old Thomas McNeel apologized to victims in the collisions on Monday at his sentencing hearing. He was convicted last month of four counts of second-degree assault and other offences.

McNeel testified at his trial he had used methamphetamine and a synthetic drug known as “bath salts” the morning before the chase on Dec. 20, 2010. He claimed he couldn’t remember the chase.

His public defender said he had been battling drug addiction for years.

Prosecutors had sought a 40-year sentence because they say McNeel purposely targeted police cruisers during the chase.

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