OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Police Department members and outstanding citizens were recognized for their excellent public safety duties at City Hall this week.
Around 2 a.m. on Nov. 19, Christopher Sullivan, general manager of Yang’s Palace restaurant, was sleeping in his apartment over the establishment when he heard a disturbance outside. A car was being driven on flat tires, striking a boat in the parking lot and crashed into a canal.
Sullivan then ran down to the canal and saw a female, Taylor Cole Vanderhook, 23, trapped inside. In an attempt to save her, Sullivan found a piece of lumber nearby and smashed the rear window of the sinking car. With only about six inches of breathing room left in the car, Sullivan pulled Vanderhook to safety.
Sullivan’s heroic actions and disregard for his own safety earned him the Certificate of Outstanding Service, presented to him by Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.
Two other citizens awarded were Charles Ray Griffin and Jared Ray Collier, who observed and reported suspicious activity at the Oasis Car Wash. They reported a suspect was attempting to steal from a money machine. The individual was located and arrested. Police were also able to close out seven other thefts from machines at car washes, thanks to their tip.
The Bronze Star was presented to Sgt. Jeffrey Smith, Pfc. Michael Richardson and Pfc. Andrew Yeager, for disarming and arresting an individual after the suspect displayed a handgun and dry fired it in public.
The Bronze Star was also awarded to Pfc. James Runkles and Pfc. Frank Soscia for jumping six feet down onto the roof of a five-story building to prevent an intoxicated subject from falling.
Corporal Shawn Jones and Pfc. Patrick Flynn were awarded for meritorious service. Jones was awarded for his duty to track the route of armed robbery suspects to Pennsylvania through a stolen cell phone. The subjects were eventually arrested. Flynn was awarded for his commitment to enforce alcohol-driving offenses.
A special commendation was awarded to Officer Jennifer Smithhart and Seasonal Officer Ryan Geiger. Smithhardt performed CPR on an individual who had stopped breathing until E.M.S had arrived. Geiger performed CPR on an individual in cardiac arrest until E.M.S arrived.
The Excellence Police Performance was awarded to the following public safety employees.
— Seasonal Officer Noah Robbins was awarded because while on bike patrol he stopped an individual on a bike on the Boardwalk and recognized him as a fugitive. He detained the suspect until backup units arrived and the arrest was made.
— Seasonal Officer Samuel Miles was awarded because while on foot patrol he recognized an individual from a flyer who was wanted and placed the individual under arrest.
— Officer Michael Karsnitz and Seasonal officer Andrew Mancini were awarded for locating a subject breaking into cars in the Inlet parking lot.
— Pfc. Charles Kelly was awarded for determining a drug deal had occurred during an investigation of a reported strong-armed robbery. He linked the two crimes and the arrest was made.
— Pfc. Carl Perry was awarded for his investigation that linked a two state crime spree over a five-day period and four arrests were made.
— Sgt. Jeffrey Smith, Corporal Ronald Townsend, Pfc. Andrew Yeager and Officer Shawn Beach were awarded for their duties as undercover police officers on bikes.
— Deputy Fire Marshall Joshua Bunting was awarded for chasing and tackling an armed suspect downtown. The weapon was recovered and the arrest was made.
— Perry and Kelley were awarded again for utilizing a bike maneuver to pin and block a suspect who had escaped officers after stabbing two individuals. The individual was charged with second-degree murder.
— Smith, Cpl. Brian Mongelli, Perry, Yeager, and Kelley were also awarded for their investigation of a reported internal theft at Dumser’s. They devised a plan using marked money and identified two suspects.
— Detective Todd Speigle was awarded for his investigation of a sexual assault. Through his observations, he was able to conclude the victim filed a false report.
— Pfc. Michael Richardson was awarded for identifying a suspect through security camera footage. The arrest was made a few days later, and he obtained a confession and recovered stolen goods from Assateague Island and the Winterfest of Lights.
— Pfc. Freddie Howard and Dfc. James Rodriguez were awarded for their investigations of burglaries.
— While patrolling a bar parking lot, Officer David Whitmer was awarded for arrested a male for sexually assaulting an intoxicated female in a car.
— Pfc. Patrick Flynn and Pfc. Shawn Lindsey were awarded for pursuing a stolen vehicle. The suspect fled, but the suspect was located and arrested.
— Pfc. Ryan Flanagan was awarded for pursuing a suspect who had robbed a pizza delivery person and the suspect was arrested.
— Corporal Richard Wawrzeniak, Corporal Frank Wrench, Pfc. Andrew Yeager, Pfc. Daniel Jacobs, Pfc. Joseph Lotito, and Off. Shawn Beach received unit citation awards.