SNOW HILL — A Westminster man who pleaded guilty in December to second-degree assault for tossing a woman onto a busy Coastal Highway last July was sentenced last week in Worcester County Circuit Court to three years in jail, all but one of which was suspended in favor of probation and restitution to the victim.
At around 2 a.m. last July 28, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer observed a man, later identified as Steven B. Barnett, 20, approach a group of several women walking eastbound on the street. Without warning or provocation, Barnett picked up one of the women and began running toward Coastal Highway with her in his arms.
Barnett was allegedly running at full speed as he carried the victim onto the highway before throwing her forward. The officer observed Barnett flee the scene after tossing the female victim into the crowded roadway.
A crowd reportedly gathered around the victim who was still lying in the highway. According to police reports, traffic was flowing heavily on Coastal Highway in the area, but the victim’s family members were able to carry her from the roadway before any vehicles reached her.
When the officer arrived on scene, he noted the victim appeared to be injured with her ankle swollen and disfigured, according to police reports. The victim told the officer she believed her ankle was broken, and the officer concluded she would not have been able to get out of the way of oncoming traffic without the help of her family.
Meanwhile, the victim’s sister told the officer she did not know Barnett prior to the incident, nor had any of the family members or individuals in the group. The victim’s sister led the officer in the direction Barnett had fled to no avail. However, when the officer returned to the scene, he observed Barnett talking to a different OCPD officer.
The victim later told police Barnett appeared intoxicated when he picked her up suddenly, and while she repeatedly shouted at him to put her down, he continued to run toward the highway and told her he was going to “throw her in the street.”
The victim confirmed to police she had never met Barnett and had no prior contact with him that night. In December, Barnett pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Back in court last week, Barnett was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500. Barnett was also ordered to pay $5,588 in restitution to the victim.