Pedestrian Struck

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OCEAN CITY — One of the first pedestrian collisions of the year on Coastal Highway occurred last Saturday evening when a Pennsylvania man was struck around 81st Street.

Around 5:45 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police responded to the area of Coastal Highway and 81st Street for a reported vehicle collision involving a pedestrian. The investigation revealed a 47-year-old Lititz, Pa. man was attempting to cross Coastal Highway from east to west when he was struck by a northbound vehicle driven by John Edward Cropper, 47, of Ocean City.

The pedestrian, who was not in a crosswalk at the time of the collision, was transported via Maryland State Police helicopter to PRMC in Salisbury for treatment of injuries not believed to be life threatening. Meanwhile, OCPD officers learned Cropper was driving on a suspended and revoked license. Cropper was arrested and charged with driving on a revoked license and was released on his own recognizance after a preliminary appearance. No charges have been filed against the pedestrian although the investigation is ongoing.

The accident occurred just weeks after the State Highway Administration (SHA) began a new pedestrian safety initiative in Ocean City including the installation of thermoplastic pedestrian sidewalk markings at a handful of trouble spot intersections in the resort. The Ocean City Police Department is reminding citizens to use marked crosswalks while crossing the street. Pedestrian are advised not to take unnecessary risks by crossing busy streets against traffic lights.

In addition, pedestrians are encouraged to make eye contact with drivers and continue to watch for traffic the entire time they are the crosswalk. Motorists should also be extremely vigilant while driving, keeping constantly aware of pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds and scooters.

Injuries, Arrests
In West OC Accident

WEST OCEAN CITY — Two people were injured and two more were arrested on various charges after a four-car accident on Route 50 in West Ocean City last Saturday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to an accident on westbound Route 50 at Golf Course Rd. The investigation revealed a 2004 Lincoln Town Car driven by Brandon Richardson, 25, of Baltimore, failed to stop for a red traffic signal and collided with a 2010 Ford Explorer, forcing the second vehicle into the median. Richardson then collided with the front end of a 2000 Jeep Cherokee before striking a 2007 Chevy Malibu in the rear.

Richardson’s vehicle then struck a light pole, severing it at its base, before jumping the curb and ending up in an embankment. Bystanders nearby detained Richardson at the scene until MSP troopers arrived. Meanwhile, Richardson’s passenger, identified as Daniel Greenlee, 25, of Baltimore, fled on foot and was pursued by Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP).

He was taken into custody and charged with possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct. Richardson was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, negligent driving, failure to stop at a red traffic signal and other traffic charges. Two occupants in the Ford Explorer were taken to PRMC in Salisbury for precautionary reasons.

Brush Fire Investigated

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office this week is investigating a brush fire along a fence near a new department store in the 116th Street area.

Around 7:20 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police responded to a reported brush fire along the fencing of the parking lot of the new Peebles store in the 116th Street area. When OCPD officers arrived, the Ocean City Fire Department was already on the scene and had extinguished the majority of the fire. OCPD officers conducted a cursory search of the area and located no suspicious individuals or vehicles. However, the investigation is ongoing and is now being conducted by the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office.

Sentence In Shopping Cart Case

SNOW HILL — A West Ocean City man arrested last October on theft charges after being found in possession of 10 stolen shopping carts was sentenced this week to one year in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and a fine.

On Oct. 28, 2011, an off-duty Maryland State Police officer received a complaint about a possible theft of 10 shopping carts belonging to Food Lion, which were discovered in the back of a pick-up truck in the Assateague Point community. MSP troopers responded to the reported address and made contact with the owner of the truck, later identified as Robert Allen Hockstad, 53, of West Ocean City, and inquired how he had obtained the shopping carts.

According to police reports, Hockstad said he had taken the carts from the Food Lion and that he had been given permission to do so by an employee. The officer then contacted the Food Lion manager, who told police no one would have given Hockstad permission to take the carts. The manager also told the officer Food Lion wanted to press charges for the thefts.

Hockstad was then arrested without further incident and charged with theft over $1,000. The value of the carts is $460 each, for a total of $4,600. This week, Hockstad entered an Alford plea to one count of theft from $1,000 to $10,000. In and Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the case.

Hockstad was sentenced to one year in jail, all of which was suspended. He was then placed on probation for two years and fined $500. He was also ordered to perform 80 hours of community service.

Truck Totaled In WOC Fire

WEST OCEAN CITY — No injuries were reported but a pick-up truck was completely destroyed in a Tuesday afternoon blaze in West Ocean City.

Around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company responded to a reported vehicle fire with exposure to a dwelling on Bald Eagle Rd. First arrivers observed fire and smoke extending from a passenger vehicle with no extension nearby buildings. The fire was extinguished quickly, but the vehicle, a Ford F-150 pickup was declared a total loss. The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the blaze and the cause is listed as undetermined. No injuries were reported.

Lit Magazine Tossed In Car Garage

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was arrested on first-degree arson and assault charges this week after allegedly lighting a magazine on fire and throwing it into a commercial auto garage during a dispute.

Around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Salisbury Police responded to Keith Wright Auto on Leonard Lane for a reported attempted arson. Salisbury Police met with a victim who told officers a suspect later identified as Shannon Lee Hilton, 30, of Fruitland, entered the business around 10:25 a.m. on Tuesday and wanted to discuss a previous issue.

When the victim refused, Hilton allegedly kicked the passenger side door of a vehicle belonging to another customer of the garage, causing a dent in the door. According to police reports, Hilton continued to attempt to entice the victim into a physical altercation. When the victim refused to be baited into a fight, Hilton allegedly lit a magazine on fire and threw it into the garage in the direction of the victim.

The ignited magazine landed in very close proximity to gasoline and oils being used inside the garage. There were no injuries reported and the victim was able to extinguish the fire before police arrived. Hilton was charged with attempted first- and second-degree arson, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property.

First-Degree Burglary Arrest

OCEAN PINES — An Ocean Pines man already on probation for swiping thousands of dollars’ worth of rare coins, autographed baseballs and an old handgun from his grandfather last August found himself in a world of new trouble this week when Ocean Pines Police arrested him on numerous new burglary charges dating back to mid-March.

Ocean Pines Police this week arrested Shawn Patrick Murray, 19, and charged him with three counts of first-degree burglary and three counts of theft stemming from incidents on March 16. Murray was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on a $15,000 bond.

Murray’s most recent arrest this week triggered a violation of probation for his conviction in February on a third-degree burglary charge from an incident last August. Last August, Murray pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and was sentenced to three years in jail, most of which was suspended in favor of probation. However, that case has now been reopened after Murray’s latest arrest.

Back on Aug. 6, Ocean Pines police responded to residence on King Richard Drive for a reported burglary and theft. Officers met with a victim who said he walked into a bedroom at the residence and discovered about $300 in cash missing from his wife’s purse. The victim then looked around the room and noticed a cherry case containing 15 commemorative coins from the 1996 Olympics was also missing.

The victim told police his grandson, later identified as Murray, was likely the perpetrator. The victim told police Murray did not have a key to the residence, but was the only individual who likely knew where the valuable items were kept. When police returned two days later, the victim told investigators several rare coins and currency had been stolen, along with a baseball autographed by Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Rabbit Maranville, along with another baseball autographed by Baltimore Orioles legend Brooks Robinson.

The victim told police the Babe Ruth baseball had been appraised about seven years earlier at $35,000. In addition, the victim also reported as stolen a rare French-made Unique-brand .32 caliber handgun. The victim told police he had registered the handgun with the Maryland State Police when he acquired it in 1956, but did not know the serial number. The total estimated value of all of the stolen items came to $51,661.

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