OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man charged with attempted first-degree murder after running over a convenience store employee with his vehicle following an apparent dispute over $10 reached a plea agreement late last week and now faces as many as 25 years in jail pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.
Richard L. Edwards, 65, was charged with attempted first-degree murder and other serious charges after an incident last June 9 during which he ran over a north-end 7-Eleven employee as many as two times after an alleged dispute about the change he received following a transaction. In Worcester County Circuit Court last Friday, Edwards entered an Alford plea to first-degree assault and failure to immediately return and remain at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury.
In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the case. The first-degree assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years.
Around 12:20 p.m. last June 9, Ocean City Police responded to a reported fight at the 7-Eleven on 139th Street. The investigation revealed the driver of a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, identified as Edwards, had first backed over a store employee, identified as Michael Curry, of Ocean City, and then intentionally drove forward over the employee at a high rate of speed before fleeing the scene and heading south toward his residence.
According to witnesses, the altercation began inside the store during a dispute over money. One source said Edwards claimed he gave the store clerk a $20 bill, while the clerk insisted Edwards had given him a $10 bill. According to a witness in the store, Edwards punched Curry inside the store and walked outside.
Curry followed while calling 911 in an attempt to get Richards’ tag number, when Richards allegedly put his vehicle in reverse and backed into Curry, knocking him to the ground. Edwards, now facing south in the parking lot, placed the Escalade in drive and proceeded to drive over top of Curry, according to police reports.
Edwards then drove out of the parking lot and headed south on Coastal Highway toward his residence on 122nd Street, fleeing the scene and failing to render aid to Curry, who was critically injured. Curry was treated at the scene by Ocean City EMS for life-threatening injuries. Curry was transported first to PRMC in Salisbury where he was listed in critical condition before being transferred to Shock Trauma in Baltimore. Curry suffered a broken leg in two places, nine broken ribs, a broken vertebrae and a collapsed lung.
Detectives interviewed Edwards’ female passenger, who admitted Edwards had been in a fight with Curry. Some witnesses on the scene told police both Edwards and Curry were engaged in the fight, hitting each other with closed fists at different times. The female passenger said she saw Curry in front of the Escalade as Edwards drove forward and over the victim.
The female passenger told police she could feel the vehicle’s wheels, both front and rear, traverse over top of Curry, according to police reports. The passenger said Edwards was angry and he left the scene and drove directly toward his home on 122nd Street. According to the passenger, Edwards “knew what he had done, but didn’t care,” according to police reports.