Alleged Drunk Driver Runs Into Cop, Flees

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OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on first-degree assault and a slew of other charges last night when he was pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and allegedly ran over a police officer before touching off a wild chase.

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Tuesday, an Ocean City police officer on bicycle patrol in the downtown area observed a Jeep Cherokee driven by Corey John Martini, 20, of Wickhaven, Pa., make a wide right turn from Philadelphia Ave. onto 8th Street, crossing the double-yellow line in the process. The officer initiated a traffic stop at 8th Street and St. Louis Ave.

The officer approached Martini and detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from his breath and person along with bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech. While the officer was speaking with Martini, he observed a plastic Baggie of suspected marijuana in the center console. The officer asked Martini for it, at which point he snatched his driver’s license from the officer’s hand, turned his vehicle toward the officer and accelerated, striking the officer with the passenger side of the vehicle.

The Jeep knocked the officer to the ground and bent his bicycle, according to police reports. Martini then accelerated at a high rate of speed down St. Louis Ave. in the wrong lane. The officer pursued Martini as he drove northbound in the southbound lane of St. Louis Ave. before turning west on 10th Street. A witness told the officer Martini had abandoned the vehicle and ran into a condo construction site on 11th Street and Edgewater Ave.

The initial officer and a second officer pursued Martini on foot as the suspect jumped over several fences to reach the back of the property. The second officer eventually tackled Martini to the ground, but the suspect continued to resist, according to police reports. The two officers continued to attempt to handcuff Martini, using several knee strikes and an ankle roll with a police baton. A third officer arrived on the scene and dropped his knee on Martini’s back, causing the suspect’s head to hit the ground. Martini then complied and was handcuffed and taken into custody.

The third officer advised Martini he was being audio and visually recorded, and when the officers asked the suspect how much he had to drink that night, he responded “way too much,” according to police reports. Other officers responded and located the Jeep at 11th Street and Edgewater Ave. The officers made contact with the owner of the Jeep, who identified herself as Martini’s girlfriend. The woman told police she had been in a verbal argument with Martini earlier in the night that had gotten so bad she was packing up her belongings to find a hotel room.

The vehicle’s owner told police she was packing her luggage in the Jeep when Martini became upset and jumped in the vehicle and drove off. The woman told police the vehicle’s trunk was still open when Martini sped off in the Jeep and all of her luggage fell out in the parking lot. A search of the vehicle turned up an electronic stun gun in the driver side door compartment. The woman told police the stun gun was hers and that it didn’t work, but she kept it for protection.

Also discovered in the Jeep was a prescription bottle containing marijuana and some unknown pills later identified as predizone, which is not a controlled dangerous substance. Meanwhile, back at the Public Safety Building, Martini continued his expletive-laced tirade at police officers and refused to submit to a breath test or sign the advice of rights form. He was charged with 22 total counts including first- and second-degree assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and numerous traffic and drug-related offenses.

Sinking Boat Rescue

INDIAN RIVER — Tragedy was averted last weekend when nine people, including six small children and an infant, were rescued in the Indian River Inlet after their boat was swamped by rough seas and sank.

Last Sunday afternoon, nine people including several small children and an infant were rescued in the Indian River Inlet after the 21-foot vessel they were boating in got swamped in the rough conditions in the inlet and eventually sank.

When waves struck the boat, causing it to sink, all nine people on board were tossed into the rough water. Several passing boaters, with the assistance of the Coast Guard and DNREC, were able to scoop the nine victims, all of whom were wearing life jackets, from the water without serious injury or incident. One of the rescued children was taken to Beebe Medical Center in Lewes for treatment of a small cut on his foot from the boat that rescued him and was treated and released.

“There’s no doubt that if the entire party hadn’t been wearing their PFDs at the time of the accident, it could have had a tragic outcome,” said DNREC Boating Safety Officer Sgt. Gregory Rhodes. “The swamping from the waves tossed the young people all over the boat and then it sank quickly. Getting into lifejackets amidst such chaos would have been very difficult if not impossible. Wearing them from the minute you board a boat- that’s how boaters outfit themselves when they want to leave nothing to chance.”

Purse Snatcher Sentenced

SNOW HILL — A West Ocean City man, arrested in June after swiping a woman’s purse at the Park-and-Ride before being caught climbing a fence at a nearby motel, pleaded guilty last week in District Court to theft under $100 and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

On June 8, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the Park-and-Ride in West Ocean City regarding the theft of a woman’s purse. The sheriff’s office received additional calls providing a description of the suspect, later identified as William Arthur Sargent IV, 31, of Ocean City. While sheriff’s deputies were searching the area in and around the Park-and-Ride, another call came in reporting Sargent was seen climbing over a fence at the Francis Scott Key Motel nearby.

A sheriff’s office sergeant responded the area and apprehended Sargent, who later admitted stealing the purse and the money inside it. The purse and money were recovered and returned to the victim. Sargent was arrested and charged with two counts of theft under $100. Last week, Sargent pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Arrest Warrant For Naked Fighter

OCEAN CITY — A Montgomery Village, Md. man, arrested in June on indecent exposure and assault charges after first running around completely naked on a crowded beach before struggling with officers attempting to arrest him, failed to appear in court for trial last week and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Around 9:30 a.m. on June 12, an OCPD officer responded to the area of 140th Street and Wight Street for a report of a completely nude man in the public dune area. Upon arrival, the officer observed a suspect, later identified as Brendan P. O’Hare, 36, of Montgomery Village, Md., who was completely naked and was running around flailing his arms while yelling and chasing another individual.

The officer noted in his report several concerned citizens including men and women had gathered and were watching O’Hare’s disorderly conduct. The officer attempted to arrest O’Hare for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct and grabbed his left arm, but the suspect resisted and struck the officer in the chest with his right hand and arm in an attempt to get away.

After a brief struggle, the officer was able to handcuff O’Hare. However, the suspect continued to kick and attempt to get away from the officer. According to the police report, O’Hare continually referred to himself as Jesus and God throughout the incident and appeared to be intoxicated from some substance.

O’Hare was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and second-degree assault on the officer. His trial was scheduled for last Friday in District Court in Ocean City, but he failed to appear and warrant was sworn out for his arrest.

Property Damage Reported

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City Police this week are investigating a report of vandalism at a residence along Coastal Highway at Winter Harbor Drive late Tuesday night.

Property owner Kristen Wittstadt reported two unidentified suspects got off a bus on the north side of Coastal Highway, crossed the street and walked along her property at Winter Harbor Drive and Coastal Highway. One of the two suspects then began kicking over several small, waist-high trees that sheltered the property from the highway and the sidewalk.

Wittstadt, who, along with her husband Scott, purchased the residence two years ago and spent considerable time and money revitalizing the property, said this week it wasn’t the first time vandals have damaged the landscaping. The Wittstadts have installed security cameras around the outside of the residence in the wake of several unreported incidents of vandalism and frequently check the live feeds from their primary home in Harford County.

Wittstadt told a neighbor, who is also an Ocean City police officer, about the incident and the officer forwarded the complaint to the department. A check of the calls for service to the Caine Keys II neighborhood where the incident took place revealed 99 calls for service since the beginning of July, 75 of which were for parking complaints. Two incidents of vandalism and malicious destruction of property were reported, including the incident on Tuesday and a separate incident during which a vehicle’s rear view mirror was knocked off. Ocean City police are looking into the Wittstadt’s complaint this week.

Drug Drop-Box A Success

OCEAN CITY — The prescription medicine drop-box installed in the Public Safety Building in May is achieving the desired results with several pounds of unwanted drugs already taken out of homes and out of area waterways.

In May, the Ocean City Police Department joined the effort by communities and law enforcement agencies to prevent the abuse of unused prescription medication by becoming the first location in Worcester County to offer a permanent drug drop box. The Ocean City Police Department’s drug drop box has already proved to be tremendous success by yielding 26 pounds of assorted medication, some of which were narcotics, in the past two weeks alone.

“We are extremely pleased with the response we are receiving from the program,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “We are proud to be part of a program that has increased the ability of residents and visitors to easily and properly dispose of unneeded, expired or unwanted medicine.”

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