Accident Closes Baltimore Ave.

Accident Closes Baltimore Ave.

OCEAN CITY – An accident on Baltimore Ave. early Wednesday morning caused a utility pole to block the roadway for several hours, snarling rush hour traffic, such as it is in Ocean City, until it could be cleared.

Early Monday morning, an accident at 3rd Street and Baltimore Ave. caused a utility pole to fall and block the roadway for several hours. Motorists entering Ocean City via Route 50 on Wednesday morning were detoured west on 1st Street to St. Louis Ave. where they could continue north to their destination further uptown.

The OCPD and town crews set up roadblocks and detours away from the crash site for several hours. Clearing the roadway was complicated by the various utilities attached to the pole. At around 6:45 a.m., the OCPD issued a release advising motorists inbound on Route 50 to use St. Louis Ave. or avoid downtown altogether by detouring to Route 90. Shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the OCPD issued another statement advising the utility pole had been cleared and Baltimore Ave. was re-opened.

Assault Investigation

Results In Cocaine Seizure

OCEAN CITY – A Baltimore man questioned in relation to a reported assault was arrested on drug charges after a search of his room turned up a significant amount of cocaine.

Around 4:32 a.m. last Sunday, OCPD officers responded to the Oceanic Motel for a reported assault that had already occurred.

During the investigation, police questioned an individual, later identified as Eugene Thomas Doughty, 41, of Baltimore, about the alleged possession of a handgun pointed out by a witness. Doughty was frisked and no such weapon was discovered. However, officers asked Doughty if he had any guns or illegal drugs to which he replied he did not. They then asked if they could search his room and the suspect complied.

During the subsequent search, OCPD officers located a black gym bag containing a plastic bag containing seven smaller bags of suspected cocaine. In the same bag, police located a daily planner with Doughty’s name written inside, which connected the suspect to the alleged cocaine.

Because of the amount of illegal drugs and that it was packaged in such a way as to indicate distribution, resort police arrested Doughty and charged him with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine along with possession of paraphernalia.

Undercover Cops Nab

Two Alleged Dealers

OCEAN CITY- Ocean City Police undercover officers working the Boardwalk last weekend arrested two Mt. Airy men for selling them illegal drugs.

Last Saturday, two OCPD detectives were working undercover on the Boardwalk in the area of 8th Street attempting purchase illegal drugs from individuals. Around 10:20 p.m., the officers met with two males later identified as Ryan Allen Phillips, 28, and Christopher McCoy, both of Mt. Airy, and inquired about purchasing illegal drugs. As the two suspects passed the officers, one of the officers said “ya’ll got some bud?” to which McCoy allegedly replied “how much ya’ll want?”

The officers told McCoy and Phillips they were looking for a gram or an eighth. An “eighth” refers to an eighth of an ounce. Phillips allegedly told the officers they could do an ounce, but not right then. Phillips then asked if the undercover officers could hook them up with any ecstasy, but the officers told the suspects they didn’t have any.

McCoy then told the officers he could supply them with a “20,” slang for $20 worth of marijuana right then. McCoy and Phillips then directed the undercover officers to walk over in the direction of a soda machine in the area at which point McCoy reached in his shoe and produced a baggie of suspected marijuana. The officers gave McCoy the $20 and McCoy completed the transaction, handing the officers a small quantity of marijuana, according to police reports.

The undercover officers then contacted nearby OCPD detectives and advised them to arrest McCoy and Phillips. The officers located on McCoy the $20 bill used in the illegal drug transaction. OCPD often photocopies currency used in drug buys to help firmly identify the suspects.

Fence Thrown At

Vehicle Yields Arrests

OCEAN CITY – A Fort Howard man was arrested on malicious destruction of property charges last weekend after ripping off a section of fence and throwing it at a vehicle and another man was arrested on drug charges a short time later with the first perpetrator.

Last Sunday, an OCPD officer on patrol in the downtown area was approached by a private citizen who advised him a man later identified as David Wayne Judd, 26, of Fort Howard, had ripped a section of white fence out of the ground in the area of the historic Henry Hotel and had thrown it at a vehicle in which he was occupying. The witness told police Judd threw the section of fence at the vehicle striking it on the driver’s side rear door.

According to police reports, the vehicle, a 2001 Mitsubishi Gallant, sustained a one-foot dent and scratches to the driver’s side rear door, a scratch and paint removal from the driver’s side door column, a scratched rear door handle, scratches on the driver’s side rear window and various other scratches and dents on the rear fender. The owner estimated the damages at around $2,000.

Around 4:30 a.m., another officer responded to the area of the incident involving the fence thrown at the vehicle when he observed two men sitting a table in a common area outside the Oceanic Motel nearby. One of the men was identified as David Wayne Judd, the suspect in the fence-throwing incident, while the other was identified as Brandon Earl Judd, 26, of Sparrows Point, Md. Brandon Judd allegedly asked police what was going on and what this was all about.

The two suspects were sitting at a table when the officer asked Brandon Judd to come over and talk to him. At that point, the officer walked over to the table and noticed a plastic bottle cap containing a partially burned marijuana cigarette. The joint was inside the hollowed outside shell of a cigar. The officer also noted some loose pieces of suspected marijuana on the table nearby.

In his report, the officer noted an earlier storm had blown some plastic chairs from the roof of the building, but the table and suspected marijuana had not been blown around, suggesting they had been placed there recently. Based on the evidence, Brandon Judd was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. David Judd, meanwhile, was arrested for allegedly throwing the portion of fence at a passing vehicle earlier. He was charged with felony malicious destruction of property for the damage to the vehicle and misdemeanor malicious destruction for damage to the fence.

Shots Fired In Pocomoke

POCOMOKE – Two men were arrested on various charges including first-degree assault and reckless endangerment late after one allegedly fired shots at a residence in Pocomoke late Monday night.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Monday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Boston Rd. in Pocomoke for a shots fired complaint. Upon arrival, deputies met with the victim who advised the officers someone had just fired shots at his house. The suspect was identified as Travis Parsons, 22, of Pocomoke. Parsons had last been seen fleeing the area near Sheephouse Rd.

Sheriff’s Deputies, along with Pocomoke Police and Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) searched the area for about an hour and a half but did not locate Parsons. Deputies then set up surveillance on Parsons’ truck. Around 3:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Parsons returned to his truck along with another man, later identified as Stephen Petitt, 22, of Pocomoke, and the pair drove off.

Deputies stopped the vehicle a short time later and arrested both Parsons and Petitt. Parsons was charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Petitt was charged with obstructing and hindering an investigation. Both were taken before a court commissioner and released on their own recognizance.

Businesses Burglarized

SNOW HILL – A Snow Hill man is in custody this week facing several counts of burglary and theft after confessing to the break-ins of two businesses in the county seat over a month between April and May. 

Between April 29 and May 29, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) and the Snow Hill Police Department worked jointly on the investigations of several burglaries and thefts from two local Snow Hill businesses. The investigation revealed a suspect identified as Maurice Isaac Blake, 40, of Snow Hill had entered a warehouse of the Helena Snow Hill Grain Company during that time. The investigation revealed several gallons of Max Round-Up herbicide was stolen from Helena Grain at an estimated value of $1,500.

Several other burglaries had occurred at the Paul M. Jones Lumber Company in Snow Hill during the same time frame. Items stolen from Paul Jones Lumber included several vehicle batteries, oil and tools. The Snow Hill Police Department obtained an arrest warrant for Blake charging him with second-degree burglary and theft under $500.

On Monday, WCBI detectives were alerted Blake had been seen driving a vehicle in Snow Hill around 9:10 a.m. A short time later, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies stopped Blake and took him into custody. A further investigation led to a confession from Blake for the burglaries at Snow Hill Grain and Paul M. Jones Lumber Company. Blake has been charged with three counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of theft over $500 and one count of theft under $500.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash

BERLIN – A Somerset County man was killed in a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon after striking a tree along Old Furnace Rd. near Greenbrier Swamp.

Around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a motor vehicle crash involving a motorcycle on Old Furnace Rd. in the southern end of the county. The investigation revealed a Suzuki GSXR 1000 operated by Benjamin Lee Collins, 33, of Princess Anne, was traveling west on Old Furnace Rd. approaching its intersection with Greenbrier Swamp Rd. when he failed to negotiate a curve and left the roadway. According to reports, Collins lost control of the motorcycle and it went down as Collins struck a tree.

Collins was flown to PRMC in Salisbury where he subsequently died of his injuries. The crash is still under investigation by the Worcester County Fatal Crash Investigation Unit, but speed greater than reasonable has been identified as the preliminary cause of the fatal crash.

Monday’s motorcycle crash continues a pattern of similar incidents across Worcester County in recent weeks. On May 23, two people were injured, including one seriously, in a motorcycle crash on Eagle’s Nest Rd. in West Ocean City. Later that same evening, a Denton man was killed in a motorcycle accident on St. Martin’s Neck Rd. near its intersection with Route 90. The investigation revealed the driver and passenger were ejected from the bike after hitting a guardrail at a high rate of speed.

Last week, it was reported an unidentified female passenger was transported to PRMC with serious injuries in the fatal motorcycle accident on St. Martin’s Neck Rd. in Bishopville. The unidentified passenger was a male, not a female as first reported. We regret the error.

More Jail Time For Resort Burglar

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man convicted on theft charges last fall and sentenced to 15 years in jail with all but five suspended after resort police connected him to a series of break-ins in the downtown area appeared in Circuit Court in Snow Hill this week to face theft and burglary charges from rash of similar incidents outside the resort and had an additional 18 months tacked on to his sentence.

Denny Patrick Owens, 41, of Ocean City, appeared in Circuit Court on Tuesday for face theft and attempted burglary charges from an incident dating back to last June 6 involving a series of break-ins inside and outside the immediate Ocean City area. Owens pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft over $500 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, which will be added to the five years he was sentenced to for a different series of incidents.

The case against Owens began to come together in mid-September last year when Ocean City police responded to the Flamingo Motel on 30th Street in reference to a suspicious person who had just attempted to break into one of the motel’s vending machines. A witness told police the suspicious person, later identified as Owens, had just left the area carrying a box. Other witnesses told police Owens had been seen walking through nearby parking lots. The officers were not able to locate Owens at the time but did find several items of evidence including a large bucket full of change.

Owens was later arrested for the vending machine break-in at the motel, but police were only starting to connect the dots between the suspect and rash of similar break-ins and thefts around the resort area dating back to early June. In court on Tuesday, OCPD Detective Brett Case told the judge a similar break-in had occurred at the Shoreham Hotel and Shenanigans on 4th Street back on June 6, 2008.

Owens was staying at the Shoreham at the time and when police went to his room, they recovered evidence from other break-ins reported in the area including golf clubs and golf bags stolen from vehicles at the Holiday Inn on 17th Street. In addition, video machines had been pried open and broken into at that hotel as well.

Case told the court on Tuesday Owens had also been linked to robberies in West Ocean City at a motel where a dollar bill-changing machine had been stolen. In addition, Owens was connected to a similar break-in at Jordan’s Rooftop in the Fenwick Inn where a bill-changing machine and a safe had been stolen. Owens had also been connected to a series of vending machine thefts at several other hotels and motels from May 15 to June 1 and he was caught on video surveillance cameras during one of his escapades.

For those incidents, Owens pleaded guilty to felony theft scheme and was sentenced to 15 years in jail with all but five suspended, but that wasn’t the end of his trouble. Owens was later connected to other reported break-ins throughout the area. This week, he pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft and was sentenced to an additional 18 months in jail.

Operation Smooth Operator

Targets Aggressive Driving

BERLIN – The Maryland State Police Berlin barrack this week announced it was in a midst of a first wave of an effort to crack down on aggressive driving in the area.

The program, called Operation Smooth Operator, is part of a larger effort identified as the Maryland Law Enforcement Challenge for 2009 and is part of a first wave of initiatives yet to come during the next several months. The first phase includes an enforcement initiative across the state including Worcester County to crack down on aggressive driving.

The goal of the initiative is to increase traffic safety and reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents in the area by targeting aggressive drivers. The first phase of the operation began last weekend and concludes tomorrow.

Emergency Alert Test Tomorrow

BERLIN – Tomorrow, Saturday, June 6, Worcester County residents will again be hearing the emergency alert signals from their local fire sirens. Worcester County has taken this step to provide additional means to warn the surrounding communities of imminent danger and the need to tune to either radio, television or the internet for information in the event of emergencies.

Sirens are tested the first Saturday of each month. Residents will hear a steady alert tone sound at 10 a.m. for approximately one minute. Since the end of the Cold War, most serious threats to areas of the Eastern Shore have been weather related, and the emergency alert sirens have gone unused.

However, emergency alert sirens continue to be employed in tornado-prone areas of the country where they are used to warn residents that a tornado has been spotted and to take cover. The reinstitution of the emergency alert siren in Worcester County can be viewed as an additional form of early warning system to protect area residents in the event of a disaster.