Route 50 Fatality
BERLIN – Tragedy struck again this week on Route 50 near Berlin when a driver reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed, killing her passenger and seriously injuring herself.
Around 6:30 p.m. Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported motor vehicle accident on the eastbound side of Route 50 near Hall Rd. just west of Berlin. Upon arrival, troopers discovered a red 2002 Chevy Tracker off the roadway. The investigation revealed the driver of the vehicle, identified as Margaret Smith Grant, allegedly fell asleep at the wheel.
The vehicle traveled across the right shoulder of the highway, left the road and entered a ditch, causing the Chevy Tracker to go airborne for approximately 40 feet before coming to a stop. Margaret Smith Grant, the driver, sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to PRMC in Salisbury. The passenger, Robert Vincent Grant, was transported to Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin where he was pronounced dead.
The fatal accident on Tuesday was the latest in a streak of deadly accidents along the stretch of Route 50 through the Berlin area.
Significant Sentence In
Cocaine Trafficking Case
SNOW HILL – A Virginia man arrested last March for carrying a considerable amount of crack cocaine across state lines after a routine traffic stop in the south end of Worcester County pleaded guilty to possession of crack with intent to distribute and was sentenced to eight years in jail with all but 18 months suspended.
On March 27, Maryland State Police troopers stopped Maurice Anthony Taylor, 48, of Temperanceville, Va., on Route 113 for the routine traffic violation. Upon contact with Taylor, the troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana and initiated a search of the vehicle. The search turned up a pill bottle with 22 individual rocks of crack cocaine in it, along with a digital scale and a small amount of marijuana. Taylor was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute.
Last week in Circuit Court, Taylor pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to eight years in jail with all but 18 months suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.
Domestic Incident Leads To Arrest
OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines man was arrested on second-degree assault charges last week following a domestic dispute in the community.
On Oct. 3, Ocean Pines police responded to a reported domestic incident. After an investigation, Pines police arrested John Anthony Weber, Jr., 54, of Ocean Pines and charged him with second-degree assault.
Weber was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on a $5,000 bond. He was then transported to the Worcester County Jail, where he is being held, pending bond review.
More Pines Assault Alleged
OCEAN PINES – Two days after the previous arrest, Ocean Pines Police arrested another man on second-degree assault charges following a domestic dispute.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, Ocean Pines Police responded to a reported domestic dispute at a residence in the community. Following a brief investigation, Pines police arrested Patrick Michael Gunning, 51, on a second-degree assault charge. Gunning was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released on his own recognizance.
Three Wanted In Break-in
SNOW HILL – One juvenile was arrested and two others are being sought for breaking into a sub shop in Snow Hill last week after it was discovered they had entered the building through the roof.
Shortly before 2 a.m. last Thursday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the Down Under sub shop in Snow Hill for an activated burglar alarm. Upon arrival, the officers determined a suspect or suspects had broken into the restaurant through the roof. A crime scene technician was brought in to collect evidence and identified three juveniles as suspects.
It was determined one of the suspects had entered the building after the other two had assisted him onto the roof. The officers went to the residence of one of the identified juveniles and to place him under arrest for burglary. Upon seeing the deputies, the suspect fled but was apprehended after a short foot pursuit. The investigation is ongoing.
Drug Bust In Pocomoke
SNOW HILL – A Pocomoke man was arrested on cocaine distribution and other charges late last month just one day before appearing for trial last week in a similar case during which he was sent to prison for four years.
On Sept. 20, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Enforcement Team officers conducted a controlled dangerous substance distribution investigation after a traffic stop in Pocomoke. As a result, nine grams of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana was recovered. On Sept. 30, two suspects identified as Christopher Harmon, 34, and Cheryl Ann Bailey, 44, both of Pocomoke, were charged and placed under arrest for possession of cocaine and marijuana and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Harmon was held at the Worcester County Jail on a $100,000 bond while Bailey was held at the facility on a $10,000 bond. The very next day, Harmon appeared in Worcester County Circuit Court to face cocaine distribution charges from an incident dating back to December 2007 during which he was found with about 19 grams of cocaine. He was found guilty and sentenced to four years in jail.
Airport Embezzler Sentenced
OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City Municipal Airport employee arrested and charged with felony theft last April after an audit at the facility revealed she allegedly pocketed cash payments made for a hangar rental pleaded guilty last week to theft less than $500 and was placed on probation for a year and fined $500.
Last April, an Ocean City auditor conducted a routine audit of airport accounts and discovered one hangar rental contract was overdue for payment. When the customer was contacted regarding payment, he explained he had paid an airport employee, later identified as Joy Babcock, 50, of Salisbury, in cash for the hangar rental.
Ocean City police detectives got involved in the investigation and learned the hangar rental customer made two cash payments, one in July 2007 and another in January 2008. Investigators determined Babcock took the payments but never made the deposits, keeping the cash instead.
Babcock was charged with two counts of felony theft and one count of felony theft scheme and her employment was suspended without pay pending the outcome of her case. Last week, Babcock pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft and was placed on probation for one year and fined $500.
Cop Biter Cleared
OCEAN CITY – A Severna Park woman arrested in May on assault and other charges after biting an OCPD officer attempting to help get her home and stay home was cleared of the charges last week in District Court.
On May 20, OCPD Officer Michelle Hutton was dispatched to a reported unconscious female in a taxi at the intersection of 17th Street and St. Louis Ave. By the time the officer arrived, the woman, identified as Ashley Michelle Hubbard, 20, of Severna Park, was awake but was extremely intoxicated and unable to say where she lived.
Police made several calls to Hubbard’s family and roommates and were able to determine she lived at 1701 Baltimore Ave. Officers followed the taxi to Hubbard’s residence and helped her up the stairs as she was unable to walk on her own. Hutton then called Hubbard’s roommate and asked her to return so police could leave the intoxicated woman in her custody.
While waiting for the roommate to return, Hubbard asked police to let her go back to the bar, which police refused. She made an effort to go back down the stairs, but the officers blocked her way. Hubbard then retreated to her room, but spun around and charged at police, who had to grab her to keep her from falling down the stairs. Hutton held Hubbard, who continued to struggle before biting the officer on her upper left bicep. Hubbard bit the officer through her winter jacket and shirt, leaving a visible bruise on her arm. She was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. Last week in District Court, the charges against Hubbard were nolle prossed, or not prosecuted.
Serious Time For Crack Peddler
BERLIN – A Virginia man arrested in March on cocaine distribution charges after Maryland State Police pulled him over for a routine traffic stop in the southern end of Worcester County pleaded guilty last week to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to eight years in jail with all but 18 months suspended from his sentence.
On March 27, MSP troopers stopped Maurice Anthony Taylor, 48, of Temperanceville, Va., on Route 113 for the routine traffic violation. Upon contact with Taylor, the troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana and initiated a search of the vehicle. The search turned up a pill bottle with 22 individual rocks of crack cocaine in it, along with a digital scale and a small amount of marijuana. Taylor was charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute and was ordered held on a $30,000 bond. Last week, Taylor pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight years in jail, all of which but 18 months was suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.
Traffic Stop Yields Weapon
OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines man was arrested on driving under the influence and concealed weapons charges last weekend after a routine traffic stop in the community.
On Oct. 4, Ocean Pines police arrested Joseph Ralph Frontera, 38, of Ocean Pines, for driving under the influence of alcohol. During an investigation subsequent to Frontera’s arrest, police located suspected drug paraphernalia and a concealed weapon (knife) in his vehicle. Frontera was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, and possession of CDS paraphernalia and possession of a concealed deadly weapon.
He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released on his personal recognizance pending trial.
10 Days For Cocaine Possession
SNOW HILL – A Crisfield man arrested last January on drunk driving and cocaine possession charges pleaded guilty to the latter last week in Circuit Court and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.
On Jan. 19, Maryland State Police troopers received a citizens’ complaint for a possible drunk driver traveling eastbound on Route 50 toward Berlin. The citizen advised that the vehicle had stopped in the intersection of Routes 50 and 346. Upon arrival, troopers observed the vehicle stationary in the roadway intersection and the driver walking around the car talking on his cell phone.
Troopers spoke with the driver, Scott Vincent Sayre, 35, of Crisfield, and immediately detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage. Sayre submitted to field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI. A search incident to the arrest revealed suspected cocaine and a plastic straw with trace amounts of suspected cocaine. He was charged with possession of cocaine and paraphernalia.
Last week in Circuit Court, Sayre pleaded guilty to the cocaine possession charge and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He was also fined $500. The DUI charge was not prosecuted as part of the plea arrangement.