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Woman Charged In Walter Reed Traffic Rampage Deemed Competent

Angela A. Cobbold, 27, is a "completely rational, reasonable person" while taking medication, her brother-in-law said in court.

The woman charged in a two-state car chase and traffic melee involving gunfire outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda has been deemed competent to stand trial, but the case may nonetheless hinge on whether she was "not criminally responsible" for her actions because of her mental state, according to statements made in court.

A Montgomery County District Court judge set bail at $50,000 on Wednesday for Angela A. Cobbold, 27, who is charged with first-degree assault and reckless endangerment after police say she attempted to run down a Navy security officer with her car outside Walter Reed Bethesda Oct. 23. Cobbold's bail hearing appearance was via closed-circuit TV from Montgomery County Correctional facilty where she remains in custody.

Prior to the traffic clash, police said she was seen attempting to eat a bar of soap in her car near the base's north gate.

Cobbold was deemed competent to stand trial last week, but when she learned that psychiatric treatment would be a condition of pre-trial release, she refused, according to statements made in court on Wednesday.

Cobbold has a “significant psychiatric history” and had apparently not been taking prescribed medication, Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Feeney said at an Oct. 24 court hearing, The Gazette reported. During the hearing last week, Cobbold’s bond review was postponed until Oct. 31 to allow for the mental evaluation.

Cobbold had been "bouncing back and forth" between her brother in Hyattstown, MD, and her sister in Manassas, VA, Montgomery County Police Officer Scott Davis said in court Wednesday.

From Oct. 3 to Oct. 19—four days before the incident—Cobbold had been receiving treatment at a Carroll County psychiatric facility, Davis said.

Cobbold’s brother-in-law described her as a “completely rational, completely reasonable” person when on her medication during the Wednesday bail hearing, but said her family "knew she wasn’t ready” to be released from the Carroll County facility.  

“She’s not well at the moment,” he said.

The judge increased bail from $20,000 to $50,000, saying there was “no good option on the table” other than to keep her in custody.

"This may be a [not criminally responsible] case eventually," Davis told the judge.

In Maryland, a defendant is "not criminally responsible by reason of insanity" if deemed unable to appreciate the criminality of their conduct.

The traffic rampage, which blocked traffic along major thoroughfares and drew heavy police response from county, state and federal jurisdictions, began with a police pursuit in Virginia after Cobbold’s car was clocked traveling 93 mph on Interstate 66 around 11:25 a.m. Oct. 23.

Police say one shot was fired by a Naval security officer but no one was hit after Cobbold backed into a security vehicle near the North Gate of Naval Support Activity Bethesda, the campus of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, just before noon.

One Navy security officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries after using a baton to break the drivers’ side windows on Cobbold’s black Mitsubishi when the woman refused to exit the car, police said. Police said Cobbold then fled north, briefly driving the wrong way down Rockville Pike before turning onto Cedar Lane, and was finally taken into custody when she crashed her car near a construction site in North Bethesda.

Bob November 01, 2012 at 08:07 AM
she needs help as in a mental hospital, not a prison.
BERNIE FISKEN November 01, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Given the extensive treatment of Bethesda Traffic Congestion in today's edition of Bethesda Patch, it would be prudent for persons planning to drive in Bethesda to be sure they take their medication beforehand.
MS November 01, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I first thought Bernie Fisken's comment (above) was humorous but I then realized it is made at the expense of someone who is mentally ill (when not on medications). Bernie, there is no humor in playing off someone who is mentally ill.
Mark Risk November 01, 2012 at 08:38 PM
This person may have "medical" issues but she has shown that she is IRRESPONSIBLE and is a danger to others when driving.......She should lose her driving license.

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