Charges Dropped In Alleged Trooper Assault

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SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on first-degree assault and other charges in November after allegedly running into a Maryland State Police trooper attempting to arrest another man in West Ocean City had the charges against him dropped last week in Worcester County Circuit Court after prosecutors decided the evidence against him was insufficient to proceed with the case.

Around 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2009, Maryland State Police troopers responded to Route 611 in West Ocean City for a reported loud party at a residence in the area. Upon arrival, troopers observed a number of individuals fleeing the residence on foot. Trooper Jason Grozier was attempting to place one of the fleeing individuals under arrest in the parking lot of the Marlin Market shopping center when the male suspect fled on foot toward Sunset Ave.

The trooper caught the suspect, later identified as a 17-year-old male juvenile from Ocean City, in the shopping center parking lot, but the suspect resisted arrest and allegedly assaulted the officer. At that time, according to police reports, a vehicle came up from behind and struck the trooper from the rear on his right side, throwing him into the air and causing him to land on Sunset Ave. near the entrance to the parking lot.

The juvenile who the trooper was attempting to arrest was able to flee on foot and took off running down Sunset Ave., according to police reports. Meanwhile, according to the trooper’s statement, the vehicle, a 1992 Acura, stopped near him and the occupants, along with the occupants of a second vehicle behind the first, exited and began to taunt and yell at the trooper who had just been struck.

According to police reports, the taunting and actions of the suspects led Grozier to believe the driver of the Acura struck him intentionally. Grozier said in police reports the actions of the suspects placed him in fear he would suffer further injury, so he pulled his service pistol from its holster. Grozier said when the suspects saw the officer had drawn his gun, they got back in their vehicles and fled the area.

Grozier was transported to Atlantic General Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Another trooper inspected Grozier’s belt and radio and other equipment and found fresh, deep scratches consistent with the description of the incident.

A description of the Acura was given to local law enforcement agencies and around 10:30 p.m., or over two hours after the initial incident, a Maryland State Police trooper located the vehicle in the parking lot of the Wawa convenience store on Route 50. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Waldon Isamu Remington III, 20, of Berlin.

A trooper from the original scene responded to the Wawa and inspected the vehicle, finding fresh scrapes and scratches on the Acura’s driver’s side front quarter panel consistent with the damages to Grozier’s equipment. The trooper took a cell phone picture of the vehicle and sent it to troopers who went with Grozier to AGH. Grozier identified the Acura as the vehicle that allegedly struck him while he was attempting to make an arrest.

The vehicle was seized and Remington was taken into custody and transported to the MSP Berlin barrack. Meanwhile, Grozier was released from AGH and returned to the Berlin barrack where he positively identified Remington as the driver of the vehicle that allegedly struck him intentionally.

Remington was charged with first- and second-degree assault, second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, reckless endangerment and second-degree escape. Last week in Circuit Court, the charges against Remington were nolle prossed, or not prosecuted, when the state determined the evidence against him was insufficient to return a guilty verdict.

Resisting Arrest Conviction

SNOW HILL – A West Ocean City man was found guilty of resisting arrest last week for an incident in February and was sentenced to a year in jail, all of which was suspended but one month, after which he will be required to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his alcohol consumption.

On Feb. 27, Maryland State Police troopers responded to the Cape Isle of Wight neighborhood in West Ocean City for a reported fight in progress. Upon arrival, one of the troopers encountered an alleged combatant in the fight, later identified as Alan Wayne Forsythe, 40, of West Ocean City. According to court testimony, Forsythe was ordered to stop and get down on the ground, but instead assumed a defensive posture suggesting he was resisting arrest.

After repeated orders to get down on the ground, Forsythe refused to cooperate and another trooper was called to the scene. According to court testimony, Forsythe was advised he would be sprayed with pepper spray if he didn’t comply. He was eventually sprayed with pepper spray and troopers were forced to strike him with their batons to get him to comply, according to court testimony.

Forsythe’s attorney said his client’s actions were never physical and his encounter with the troopers was more of a verbal altercation. Nonetheless, Forsythe was found guilty of resisting arrest, and the conviction violated the terms of an earlier conviction. He was sentenced to one year in jail, all of which was suspended but one month.

Judge Gerald Purnell admonished Forsythe, whose past problems were related to alcohol consumption. As a result, the judge ordered Forsythe to wear a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) device upon his release.

A SCRAM device is a tool used increasingly by the courts and probation departments to monitor an individual’s blood alcohol content for a variety of reasons. It is essentially worn as an ankle bracelet and takes samples of perspiration every 30 minutes. Data from the device is transmitted to the SCRAM company at lease once a day, and if alcohol consumption is indicated, the data is forwarded to the court or appropriate law enforcement of probation agency.

Banned From Wal-Mart

SNOW HILL – A Princess Anne woman arrested in December for her role in a shoplifting scheme at the Wal-Mart in Berlin was found guilty last week in District Court of theft and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended, placed on probation for three years and was banned from the store by the judge.

On Dec. 11, 2009, Monique Bivens, 20, of Princess Anne, along with four other female suspects, were caught stealing merchandise from the Wal-Mart and were arrested on theft charges. The suspects were entering the store with empty Wal-Mart bags in their purses, loading the bags with various merchandize and putting the bags in a cart.

They would then leave the store with a cart full of bags of merchandise as if they had checked out and paid for them. The store manager detected the scam and stopped Bivens and another suspect outside the store, while two other suspects remained inside. The identities of the other suspects are not known because they were juveniles.

Last week in District Court, Bivens was found guilty of theft from $1,000 to $10,000. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended. The judge suspended the sentence in large part because the defendant is pregnant and he didn’t want the state to have to foot the bill for the birth because the defendant was incarcerated. In addition, Bivens was placed on probation for three years. Apparently, she had been caught in a similar scheme at the Wal-Mart in Fruitland.

“You’ve been involved in at least two thefts now, and apparently you’re not very good at it,” said Judge Purnell.

In addition to the suspended sentence and probation, Purnell banned Bivens from Wal-Mart in the future, with the blessing of the store manager, who was present in the courtroom.

“The one thing you can’t do is go into Wal-Mart,” the judge said. “You’ve forfeited that privilege. You’re not to go in there under any circumstances, even an emergency.”

Car Break-In Rankles Judge

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested in March for breaking into a vehicle at the Ocean Pines library and stealing a stereo found himself in home detention last week after rankling the same judge who presided over him in Worcester County Drug Court for a prior offense.

On March 6, a Maryland State Police trooper was called to the library parking lot in Ocean Pines for a reported vehicle break-in. A witness heard a loud crash and the sound of breaking glass and called police. An inspection of the vehicle revealed two front windows broken and a satellite radio missing.

Police combed the area and located a suspect, later identified as Cody Roehrig, 19, of Berlin, who was found with the XM radio and docking station in his pocket with the wires cut. According to testimony in court last week, Roehrig told police at the time he had found the radio. The victim was brought over and identified the radio found on Roehrig’s person as the one that had been stolen from the vehicle.

Last Friday in District Court, Roehrig appeared for trial and pleaded guilty to one count of theft under $1,000. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail, with all but one month suspended. He was then given credit for time served since arrest in March, yielding no new jail time. However, Judge Gerald Purnell, who also presides over the county’s drug court, chastised Roehrig for his repeated offenses and placed on home detention until the next drug court meeting, at which time the judge will decide whether or not Roehrig should be allowed to remain in the program.

“I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am in you,” the judge said. “This is so disappointing I can’t even tell you. We have all those warm and fuzzy conversations in drug court about changing your ways, and then I see you back in here for this. It makes me feel like maybe we’re wasting our time with you.”

With that said, Purnell ordered Roehrig to be fitted with a home detention ankle bracelet and ordered to remain in his home until the next drug court meeting convenes on May 6.

“This is your last opportunity to be free,” he said. “I’m done with you. This is it for you. If you act like a criminal, you’re going to be treated like one.”

Traffic Fatality

SNOW HILL – A Westover man was killed in a single-vehicle accident last Sunday evening when his car left the roadway and overturned after hitting a ditch.

Shortly before 9 p.m. last Sunday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area of Dun Swamp Rd. in Pocomoke for a reported motor vehicle accident. The investigation revealed an Oldsmobile operated by Norman Lee Collins, 80, of Westover was traveling north on Dun Swamp Rd. approaching the Pocomoke Beltway when it crossed the center line and left the roadway.

The vehicle then struck a ditch and overturned. Collins was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation revealed the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. The Worcester County Collision Reconstruction Unit is continuing the investigation, but the cause of Collins’ crossing the center line of the roadway has not been determined.

West Ocean City Fire Ruled Arson

WEST OCEAN CITY – The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office this week ruled a fire at a residence on Keyser Point Rd. on Sunday, April 11, was intentionally set.

Around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, Ocean City firefighters responded to a reported fire at a residence on Keyser Point Rd. A neighbor reported the fire. First-arriving units reported heavy fire showing from the rear of the single-story dwelling. The fire was quickly extinguished with no injuries reported. The Berlin Volunteer Fire Company also responded to assist. The residence was unoccupied at the time of the blaze.

During the course of the investigation, the Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire had been intentionally set and are now considering it an arson case, although no suspect or suspects have been identified. Anyone with additional information is urged to call Chief Deputy Fire Marshall Matt Owens at 410-632-5666, extension 2, or email mowens@wcfmo.org.

Another West Ocean City Fire

WEST OCEAN CITY – The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office this week is investigating a fire at a home in West Ocean City last Thursday, but the cause is still listed as undetermined.

Around 3 p.m. last Thursday, the Ocean City Fire Company responded to a reported fire at a residence on West Torquay Rd. in West Ocean City. First-arriving units reported fire showing from a mulch bed with fire extending to the siding of the two-story residence. The fire was quickly extinguished although crews remained on the scene for about an hour. No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

The preliminary investigation revealed the fire originated in the mulch bed at the front of the house, but the cause is undetermined and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with additional information is urged to call the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office at 410-632-5666, extension 2.

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