Police officer hit on interstate clings to hood of car doing 80 mph, survives wild ordeal

MD I-270, where Denai Holly hit Officer Chris Jordan. (Photo: WJLA)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) — An off-duty Montgomery County Police officer used windshield wipers to remain on the hood of a car driving at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.

The harrowing experience occurred along Interstate 270 during the Monday morning rush.

Around 7:50 a.m., Officer Chris Jordan witnessed a three-car crash. Jordan saw a silver Chevy Impala involved in the crash flee the scene, riding on the emergency shoulder and weaving in and out of traffic.

The veteran officer used his personal van to cut off the Impala in the local lanes near Shady Grove Road. Jordan approached the Impala on foot and identified himself as a police officer. However, the female driver, Denai Holly, allegedly accelerated. Jordan jumped onto the hood of Holly's car to avoid being run over.

Jordan somehow managed to call 911 while on the hood, prompting a priority response from Maryland State Police. Approximately one mile down the interstate, Holly pumped the breaks, allowing Jordan to roll off the vehicle, remarkably uninjured.

A description of Holly's vehicle, including her license plate, was broadcast over local police channels. Around 8:35 a.m., an officer spotted the Impala in a Chick-fil-A parking lot along Research Boulevard in Rockville. Holly was found slouched down in the driver's seat, seemingly attempting to hide. She was wearing a shirt sporting images of Walt Disney movie characters, Lilo & Stitch.

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Police transported Holly to MSP's Rockville Barrack where she admitted to leaving the collision scene, but explained she had no clue who Jordan was or why the officer would make such wild claims.

Authorities charged her with attempted manslaughter, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

During her bond review Tuesday, a public defender explained Holly has three children, ages eight, two and one. She went on to share Holly has a clean criminal record, plus a steady job with the U.S. Postal Service, working the graveyard shift at the Gaithersburg distribution center.

“I don’t believe she is at risk of not appearing in court as she has such a monumental responsibility at home," the public defender’s office stated, alluding to Holly’s duty to provide for her kids.

“You don’t think she is a flight risk?" Montgomery County District Court Judge Rand Gelber asked with a tone of condescension. “I’m sure the officer is financially responsible for his family, and she tried to kill him.”

According to prosecutors, Jordan stared straight through the windshield at Holly during the high-speed order. At one point she shrugged her shoulders, her body language seemingly saying, "sorry, but this is what’s happening." Holly also shouted at Jordan to “get off her car” as she zoomed down the interstate, other motorists watching in utter shock.

“I think that he is extremely lucky that he was not severely injured," prosecutors opined. "First, from being hit by a vehicle, but also from having to hold onto it while that vehicle was traveling at extremely high speeds down the highway.”

After considering all of the variables, Judge Gelber refused to grant Holly bond, calling the 25-year-old postal worker a "danger to the community."

Holly's three sisters, and the father of her three children, exited the courtroom mumbling insults at the judge as tears streamed down their faces.

“I don’t think she would do something like that. That’s not her character," Holly's boyfriend told ABC7. “She works overnight. She gets off every morning and goes straight home and takes her oldest daughter to school, and drops off the two little ones at daycare. She picks them up from school, gets a little bit of sleep and then goes back to work."

The public defender stated that Holly recently started to take medication for an undisclosed "psychiatric issue." It's unclear if that condition led to her alleged actions.

Officer Jordan works in Montgomery County's K9 Unit. His father is Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Richard Jordan. That connection could, in theory, cause conflict of interest issues as the case approaches trial.

All told, Holly faces 50 years in prison. She is scheduled to return to court on December 21, for a preliminary hearing.

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