U-Haul traffic stop leads to discovery of kidnapped woman; Maryland man arrested, police say

A traffic stop led to the discovery of a kidnapping victim in a U-Haul truck and the arrest of a man in Maryland after troopers say he abducted her from a convenience store.

Maryland State Police found the woman in the passenger side of a U-Haul driven by Dennis Bell, 62, after the vehicle prompted multiple 911 calls for erratic driving, according to a news release.

In addition to kidnaping, Bell, of Lanham, faces more than a dozen criminal charges including first-degree assault, false imprisonment, fourth-degree sex offense, possession of suspected crack cocaine and driving while impaired in connection to the late Friday incident.

Online records show he remained jailed without bond in Maryland as of Monday.

According to a preliminary report, the victim told police Bell pushed her into the U-Haul truck in Washington, D.C., and threatened to kill her. Bell was arrested in Lanham, a northeast suburb of Washington.

U-Haul involved in police chase

Maryland troopers College Park received multiple calls about a U-Haul truck driving erratically and hitting parked vehicles.

Two troopers responding to the scene found the victim seated on the floor without clothes and with apparent wounds to her fingers, according to a news release from state police.

Bell, the release continues, "drove around all day with the victim sitting on the floor board in the front seat. The victim reported that while in Bell’s truck, he removed her clothing and used a pocket knife to stab her fingers."

Troopers reported they attempted to pull the vehicle over but Bell would not stop.

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Disabled in a ditch

The truck eventually became disabled in a ditch and troopers reported Bell refused commands to get out of the U-Haul. Troopers eventually "gained entry through the passenger side window and discovered the victim."

According to the release, Bell was uncooperative and refused to identify himself. He was arrested, taken to the hospital and later transported to jail.

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USA TODAY does no identify victims of sexual assault. The woman was transported from the scene by emergency medical service personnel to an area hospital for medical treatment.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

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