BY BILL BROWN
A Takoma Park police officer was indicted June 30 for an off-duty road-rage incident involving a gun last July. The same officer was also involved in a March car crash in which three people — two teenagers and the father of one of the teens — died.
Named Officer of the Year in 2012, private first-class Travis Ala, 28, has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of legal proceedings.
The road-rage incident occurred on state route 50 in Bowie, MD July 6, 2014. Ala was driving westbound, according to the Prince George’s County office of State’s Attorney, when he encountered a car in the left hand lane. Angry that the vehicle was not traveling fast enough, Ala allegedly went around the vehicle, pulled in front of it and slammed on his brakes. The vehicle moved to the center lane. Ala, says the state’s attorney, proceeded to get behind it and follow closely.
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As he pulled out to pass the vehicle, a witness inside allegedly says Ala pulled out a black handgun and pointed it at them. According to the state’s attorney the victims stopped their vehicle on the shoulder and Ala pulled in behind them. When he realized they were attempting to take photos of him, he drove away.
Ala was traced by his license plate number.
The Prince George’s County office of State’s Attorney indicted him on charges of first and second degree assault and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence.
Last March, again on state highway 50, but this time in Ann Arundel County, Ala, off-duty and driving an unmarked police car, crashed into another vehicle. The preliminary report said he failed to observe stopped traffic ahead of him. Killed were Susannah Badders, 19, her father Raymond Badders, 63, both of Manchester, Md., and a friend, Jason Simpkins, 19, of Ellicott City, Md.
Charges for that incident are pending a review of the state police crash investigation by the Anne Arundel State’s Attorney’s office.
Travis M. Ala joined the Takoma Park Police Dept. in January 2102 after serving four years on the Annapolis Police Department. He was assigned as a detective with Takoma Park’s Special Assignment Team. In 2012 he was voted Officer of the Year following one of the city’s largest marijuana arrests. Prior to becoming a police officer, he served in the United States Marine Corps.
Maryland State Police announced that mid-afternoon Saturday, March 21 an off-duty Takoma Park police officer crashed into another vehicle on eastbound state Route 50 in Ann Arundel County.