OCEAN CITY – A bizarre sequence of events in the resort early last Sunday morning included an Ocean City police officer getting assaulted after breaking up a fight and a high-speed chase through much of a mid-town area and ended with the suspect vehicle crashing into a dune on the beach before fleeing into a nearby hotel.
Around 2:15 a.m. on Sunday, an Ocean City police officer on routine patrol on a municipal bus observed a fight in progress in the parking lot of a resort nightclub. When the officer got off the bus to break up the fight, he grabbed one of the combatants, later identified as Erin Michael Wallace, 35, of Stevensville, Md., as he attempted to flee the scene. A short time later, a vehicle driven by Tony Wendell Anderson, 40, of Ellicott City, pulled up and Wallace got in the car.
The officer ordered Wallace to get out of the car and he briefly complied before striking the officer with a forearm to the chest. Wallace then got back in the car and the vehicle sped off down Coastal Highway. The police pursuit ensued and at one point, Anderson dropped Wallace off at a crowded bus stop where he attempted to blend in, but he was taken into custody.
Meanwhile, a high-speed pursuit of Anderson’s vehicle continued, at times reaching speeds of over 80 mph, as it traversed along Coastal Highway and in and out of side streets and parking lots between 30th Street and 67th Street. At one point, the vehicle stopped, but as police approached the car, Anderson sped off again in a different direction. During the chase, Anderson led police through a Sunset Island community at a high rate of speed.
The chase ended when Anderson drove his vehicle onto the beach at 67th Street and crashed into a dune. Anderson left the vehicle still running and then fled on foot down the beach and ducked into the Holiday Inn at 66th Street. Several officers and a K-9 unit later found Anderson hiding in a storeroom at the hotel under a pile of miscellaneous items.
Anderson was clearly intoxicated, according to police reports. A search of his vehicle also turned up a small amount of marijuana. Anderson fell asleep during his transport to police headquarters and again during processing.
Anderson was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and numerous traffic violations incident to the chase. Meanwhile, Wallace was charged with second-degree assault on an officer, disorderly conduct and affray.