NEW FOR WEDNESDAY: Alleged Drunk Driver Strikes Cop With Vehicle, Flees Scene

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on first-degree assault and a slew of other charges last night when he was pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and allegedly ran over a police officer before touching off a wild chase.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office">

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Tuesday, an Ocean City police officer on bicycle patrol in the downtown area observed a Jeep Cherokee driven by Corey John Martini, 20, of Wickhaven, Pa., make a wide right turn from Philadelphia Ave. onto 8th Street, crossing the double-yellow line in the process. The officer initiated a traffic stop at 8th Street and St. Louis Ave.

The officer approached Martini and detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from his breath and person along with bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech. While the officer was speaking with Martini, he observed a plastic Baggie of suspected marijuana in the center console. The officer asked Martini for it, at which point he snatched his driver’s license from the officer’s hand, turned his vehicle toward the officer and accelerated, striking the officer with the passenger side of the vehicle.

The Jeep knocked the officer to the ground and bent his bicycle, according to police reports. Martini then accelerated at a high rate of speed down St. Louis Ave. in the wrong lane. The officer pursued Martini as he drove northbound in the southbound lane of St. Louis Ave. before turning west on 10th Street. A witness told the officer Martini had abandoned the vehicle and ran into a condo construction site on 11th Street and Edgewater Ave.

The initial officer and a second officer pursued Martini on foot as the suspect jumped over several fences to reach the back of the property. The second officer eventually tackled Martini to the ground, but the suspect continued to resist, according to police reports. The two officers continued to attempt to handcuff Martini, using several knee strikes and an ankle roll with a police baton. A third officer arrived on the scene and dropped his knee on Martini’s back, causing the suspect’s head to hit the ground. Martini then complied and was handcuffed and taken into custody.

The third officer advised Martini he was being audio and visually recorded, and when the officers asked the suspect how much he had to drink that night, he responded “way too much,” according to police reports. Other officers responded and located the Jeep at 11th Street and Edgewater Ave. The officers made contact with the owner of the Jeep, who identified herself as Martini’s girlfriend. The woman told police she had been in a verbal argument with Martini earlier in the night that had gotten so bad she was packing up her belongings to find a hotel room.

The vehicle’s owner told police she was packing her luggage in the Jeep when Martini became upset and jumped in the vehicle and drove off. The woman told police the vehicle’s trunk was still open when Martini sped off in the Jeep and all of her luggage fell out in the parking lot. A search of the vehicle turned up an electronic stun gun in the driver side door compartment. The woman told police the stun gun was hers and that it didn’t work, but she kept it for protection.

Also discovered in the Jeep was a prescription bottle containing marijuana and some unknown pills later identified as predizone, which is not a controlled dangerous substance. Meanwhile, back at the Public Safety Building, Martini continued his expletive-laced tirade at police officers and refused to submit to a breath test or sign the advice of rights form. He was charged with 22 total counts including first- and second-degree assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and numerous traffic and drug-related offenses.