NYE Cop Assault

Accident Nets DUI, Drug Bust

BISHOPVILLE – A Bishopville man was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges early New Year’s Day after his vehicle left the roadway and struck a pole on St. Martin’s Neck Rd. near Route 90.

Around 3:20 a.m. on Jan. 1, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a single vehicle accident on St. Martin’s Neck Rd. The investigation revealed a 2004 Chevy Trailblazer, driven by Bradford Hall, 22, of Bishopville, had failed to negotiate the turn from Route 90 and left the roadway, striking a pole.

Hall subsequently failed field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. During a search of the vehicle incident to the arrest, a bag of marijuana was found on the seat and Hall was charged additionally with possession. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on an unsecured $20,000 bond.

Two Arrested In

Parking Garage Fracas

OCEAN CITY – A Berlin man was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges and his girlfriend was also arrested on interfering with an arrest and disturbing the peace charges after an incident last week in a parking garage in Ocean City.

Around 1:20 a.m. on Dec. 28, an OCPD officer on routine patrol observed a dark-colored Ford truck turn left from Coastal Highway onto 33rd Street, which is a one-way street heading in the opposite direction. The vehicle stopped, and the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the truck the continued in the wrong direction toward the beach before turning into a motel parking garage.

As the officer approached the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Christopher Eschenberg, 28, of Berlin, opened the door, slid out and started to walk away. The officer ordered Eschenberg to get back in the vehicle and told him he was stopping him for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. The suspect did return to his vehicle, but got out again to retrieve his license from his wallet. When asked why he didn’t stop initially, Eschenberg told police he did not hear the siren, despite the fact it was echoing through the parking garage.

When the officer notice the suspect’s speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot, he asked Eschenberg to perform some field sobriety tests, which he refused, launching into an expletive tirade. Eschenberg was then placed under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to police reports, he continued to be uncooperative during the arrest. For example, during a search incident to the arrest, while in handcuffs, Eschenberg managed to drop his pants and allegedly told the officer, “Here, search me.”

As the officer escorted Eschenberg to a patrol car, the suspect began flailing his body and pulling away, according to police reports. He was finally belted into the police car, but he did not stop resisting. At one point, he was able to move his handcuffed hands from behind him to in front of him and tried to exit the vehicle.

During a search of the vehicle, police discovered a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia and possession charges were tacked on. Meanwhile, Eschenberg continued to struggled and ultimately had to be restrained with a violent prisoner restraint device (VPRD).

While the situation with Eschenberg unfolded, his female passenger was getting into trouble of her own. The officer approached the passenger side of the vehicle and asked the female passenger, later identified as Cassie Stuart, 22, of Ocean City, for identification. While the officer was checking Stuart’s license, she allegedly exited the vehicle and began screaming “What the [expletive deleted] are you doing to him? He didn’t do anything wrong. I just want to hold him.”

Stuart was ordered to get back in the vehicle, which she initially refused to do. When she had calmed down, the officers allowed her to remain outside the vehicle while Eschenberg was questioned. She eventually got back in the vehicle, but once Eschenberg was placed under arrest, she got out again and began to yell and scream at the top of her lungs, according to police reports. She allegedly continued her tirade as she attempted to push her way to Eschenberg, who was being taken into custody.

By now, a crowd of 20-30 people had gathered on nearby hotel balconies and they were watching the scene unfold. Stuart continued to yell as she was taken into custody and charged with hindering an arrest and disturbing the peace. According to police reports, someone in the crowd yelled, “It’s about time she shut up. I would have thought she would have been arrested sooner.”

Hid Wallet In Ceiling

OCEAN CITY – A Georgetown, Del. man was arrested on theft charges last week after swiping a wallet from a cleaning cart in an uptown Ocean City hotel and hiding it in the ceiling of his room in the facility.

On Dec. 27, OCPD officers were dispatched to the Fenwick Inn for a reported theft. The officer interviewed a witness who said she observed a male suspect take an employee’s wallet from a cleaning cart and go into his room. The witness said the suspect, later identified as Christopher Altoe, 27, of Georgetown, Del., take the wallet from the car, put it in his waistband and go into room 708.

The officers then went to room 708 and interviewed Altoe, who, at first, denied any involvement with the theft. When the officers told Altoe they merely wanted to get the wallet back to its rightful owner, he hesitated briefly before telling them it was in the bathroom. Altoe told police he had stashed the wallet in the ceiling, and they discovered it when they removed a ceiling panel in the bathroom.

The witness was then brought over and positively identified Altoe as the man who had taken the wallet from the cleaning cart. He was arrested and charged with theft under $500.

Looking For Place To Rest?

OCEAN CITY- A Virginia man who later told police he “had nowhere else to go” was arrested on rogue and vagabond charges last weekend after resort officers found him sitting in a car that didn’t belong to him around 3 a.m.

Shortly before 3 a.m. last Sunday, an OCPD officer on routine patrol observed a man, later identified as Jeremiah Secrest, 29, of Axton, Va., open a passenger side door of a car in front of a midtown motel and get inside. Two other officers in the area told the first officer they had been monitoring Secrest, who had allegedly been wandering in the area trying car door handles. The officers also advised they had responded to area about 45 minutes earlier in reference to a drunk and disorderly call related to Secrest.

The officers approached Secrest, who was still sitting in the car, and arrested him on charges of rogue and vagabond. When placed under arrest, Secrest allegedly told police, “I don’t have any place else to go or nothing else to do.”

Teen Arrested For Burglary

OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines teenager is being charged as an adult this week on multiple counts of burglary and theft after police were able to connect him to a string of burglaries in the community dating back to November.

Ocean Pines Police this week arrested Mark Anthony Scaniffe, 17, of Ocean Pines, after connecting him to four burglaries, which occurred in the south section of the community in November. Scaniffe has been charged with four counts of first-degree burglary, three counts of theft over $500, one count of theft under $500, two counts of malicious destruction of property and one count of theft scheme over $500.

Because of the severity of the charges, Scaniffe has been charged as an adult. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner, who ordered him held on a $100,000 bond pending trial.

Seven Years For

Urine Sample Swap

SNOW HILL – A West Ocean City man convicted and placed on probation for felony drug distribution in 2007 was sent to jail for seven years this week after it was discovered he violated the terms of his probation by substituting his urine sample with someone else’s.

Following an investigation that began in January 2007, Ocean City Police narcotics officers arrested Ronald Ashton Erbe, now 60, when the suspect sold an undercover officer Fentanyl Transdermal System patches, which are strong, prescription time-release pain killers that dish out a measured dose of the potent narcotic Fentanyl. Erbe made his first sale of the painkillers to resort detectives in January 2007 and continued to sell the narcotics to the undercover officer in a similar pattern over several months.

In the last sale, the narcotics officer met Erbe at the parking lot of the 10th Street Medical Center for a pre-arranged sale. When the transaction was complete, Erbe was arrested and charged with two counts of felony CDS distribution. He was later found guilty and was placed on probation, although the sentencing guidelines called for 7-14 years. However, Erbe was brought back to court this week for a violation of probation hearing after it was learned he swapped out a urine sample he was supposed to deliver as part of the terms of his probation with that of another.

Erbe pleaded with the judge to extend his probation despite the violation, citing his participation in drug addiction and other counseling programs while in jail. However, his pleas fell on deaf ears as Judge Theodore Eschenberg revoked Erbe’s probation and sentenced him to seven years in jail. “Three weeks after sentencing, you were back to your old tricks again,” the judge said. “The fact is you’re a drug addict and it appears you will always be a drug addict.”

Alleged Rapist Trial Delayed

SNOW HILL – A Lewes, Del. man arrested in June after allegedly raping a friend’s girlfriend in an Ocean City hotel room had his trial delayed this week after his public defender convinced a Circuit Court judge the case would likely need more time devoted to it on the crowded January docket.

The defendant, Damon Mays, 34, of Lewes, was staying with friends at an Ocean City hotel in June after the three had been out drinking earlier in the evening. The couple allegedly invited Mays to sleep on a sofa in the room rather than drive home, according to police reports.

Around 4:30 a.m., the alleged victim, a 21-year-old Crownsville woman, awoke to discover Mays had allegedly removed her pants and had intercourse with her while she was unconscious, according to police reports. When the victim confronted Mays, he quickly left the room and fled, according to court documents. OCPD detectives were later able to locate Mays in Ocean Pines and he was arrested without incident.

Mays’ trial was scheduled for this Wednesday in Circuit Court, but public defender Burton Anderson was able to convince the judge to continue the case, citing a crowded docket scheduled for that day. Anderson pointed out there were 17 cases scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, of which he was representing eight of the defendants. Anderson also told the judge at least a full morning would likely need to be devoted to the case with the state scheduled to call 10 witnesses and the defense expected to call two.

Mays is not in custody after being released following his arrest, so there is no urgency to bring his case to trial, Anderson told the judge.

“We give up the right to a speedy trial in this case,” he told the judge. “In fact, we give up the right to ever be tried. Mr. Mays is not incarcerated, so there is no urgency to rush this case to trial.”