Wild Chase, Assault Nets 10 Years

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man arrested last July after an incident that began with an attempted drug sale to an undercover Ocean City police officer on the Boardwalk was sentenced last week to 10 years in jail.

Around 1:47 a.m. last July 16, Ocean City narcotics detectives, assisted by undercover and plainclothes officers, attempted to arrest Michael Joseph McGovern, 30, of Williamsport, Pa., for selling marijuana and ecstasy to an undercover detective. During the arrest, McGovern fled from police in the area of 19th Street and a description of the suspect was broadcast.

Bicycle officers located McGovern as he was attempting to enter his vehicle. A brief struggle took place inside the vehicle with an officer on both the driver’s and passenger’s side. During the struggle, McGovern managed to start the vehicle and put it in reverse, dragging the officer on the driver’s side and nearly running over the officer on the passenger side.

The officer who was dragged on the driver’s side was eventually able to free himself by falling out of the vehicle and under the driver’s side door, which was still open. Other officers responded and a brief vehicle pursuit ensued before McGovern bailed out of his vehicle on the west side of Coastal Highway in the area of Marlin Drive.

Officers continued to pursue McGovern on foot and later determined he had jumped in a canal in the area of 21st Street. Officers were able to track McGovern to the area of 28th Street..

Police eventually located McGovern in a condominium on Eagle Drive around 4:38 a.m., or about three hours after the incident began.

The officer who was dragged by the vehicle was transported to Atlantic General Hospital and was treated for hand and arm injuries before being released. McGovern was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, fleeing and eluding, reckless and negligent driving and two counts of distribution of marijuana and ecstasy.

In May, McGovern entered an Alford Plea to distribution of marijuana, second-degree assault on a police officer and attempting to elude police. In an Alford Plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the case. Last Friday, McGovern was sentenced to 10 years in jail for second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, five years for distribution of marijuana and one year for the attempting to elude count, which he will serve concurrently.