Worcester Man Killed in Crash

PITTSVILLE — A Worcester County man was killed in a two-vehicle accident on Route 350 at Sixty Foot Rd. last Thursday evening.

Shortly after 7 p.m. on April 4, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a two-vehicle accident in Pittsville. The investigation revealed the driver of a Dodge van, identified as Hugh Albert Gingerly, 55, of Snow Hill, was traveling south on Sixty Foot Rd. and failed to stop for a stop sign at the intersection with Route 350.

Gingerly’s van collided with a GMC pick-up, which was traveling west on Route 350. After colliding, the two vehicles continued on into a roadside ditch with Gingerly’s van coming to rest on its driver’s side in the water-filled ditch. Gingerly was pronounced dead at the scene. According to police reports, Gingerly was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident and alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor.

The driver of the pick-up, identified as Jeffery James Dean, 40, of Salisbury, and his passenger, a five-year-old boy who was restrained in a child safety seat, were both taken to PRMC. Dean was treated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening while the child was not injured. Due to the collision, emergency personnel closed the roadway for several hours. The investigation remains ongoing.

Rape Suspect Charged

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man, who was nabbed by US Marshals after being wanted in Ocean City in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a minor while on vacation in the resort last June, has been formally charged with rape and assault charges.

In March, the U.S. Marshals announced they had located a fugitive identified as Remington Hedden, 18, of Carbondale, Pa., in his hometown. Hedden was being sought by Ocean City Police and Worcester County authorities in connection with the sexual assault of a juvenile in late June. In June, the OCPD investigated an allegation of a rape and sexual assault of a juvenile in the resort.

After an investigation, a warrant was issued in Worcester County for Hedden’s arrest in January. In March, Deputy U.S. Marshal’s out of the Scranton office, along with task force personnel, located and arrested Hedden in Carbondale. Hedden was taken into custody without incident. The warrant issued in Worcester for Hedden’s arrest charged him with second-degree rape, second-degree assault and second- and fourth-degree sex offense.

Hedden was extradited last week to Worcester County where he was formally charged in connection with the incident last June. He was ordered to be held on a $35,000 bond and was later released last Thursday after posting bond.

Cocaine Dealer Sentenced

SNOW HILL — A Berlin man arrested last September on cocaine distribution charges after police observed him acting suspiciously in the area of a VFW Hall pleaded guilty this week and was sentenced to six years in jail, all but six months of which was then suspended.

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2012, members of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team were in the area of the Berlin VFW on Showell Street when they observed an individual, later identified as Kasheem D. Purnell, 33, of Berlin, acting in a suspicious manner. According to police reports, Purnell acted suspiciously when he saw law enforcement officers and immediately walked behind a small cargo trailer parked on Showell Street.

A member of the Criminal Enforcement Team approached the trailer and discovered a clear plastic bag containing 22 individually wrapped bags of cocaine totaling roughly nine grams. Purnell then fled the scene on foot and was apprehended after a brief chase without further incident. Purnell was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

This week, Purnell pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to six years in jail, all but six months of which was then suspended. Purnell was then placed on probation for three years and fined $500.

‘Operation Smackdown’
Cases Clear Court

SNOW HILL — The latest round of court proceedings for some of the 26 suspects rounded up in December following an Ocean City Police Department investigation of a major heroin distribution ring took place last week in Circuit Court with a handful of suspects convicted and sentenced.

In December, the OCPD concluded a six-week aggressive and extensive undercover drug investigation targeting multiple suspects throughout Ocean City called “Operation Smackdown.” The investigation was initiated by the department due to an overwhelming increase in heroin abuse in the resort area during the year. The investigation resulted in 72 individual buys of heroin, cocaine, illegal prescription medications and marijuana, although the majority of the drug purchases involved heroin.

OCPD narcotics detectives went before a Worcester County Grand Jury in December and were able to obtain indictments on 23 suspects for various drug distribution charges. Throughout the winter, trials for the various defendants arrested during the round-up have been making their way through the court system with a handful adjudicated last week.

For example, Cody Bradshaw, 26, of Cambridge, pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin and was sentenced to five years, two of which were suspended netting a two-year jail stint. Bradshaw was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500. Taylor Bakke, 22, of Berlin, pleaded guilty to possession of oxycodone and was sentenced to 30 days with all but two suspended. Bakke was also placed on probation for 18 months and fined $500. Tracey Shaffer, 43, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to three years with all but one suspended. Shaffer was placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

8th DUI Nets Jail Time

SNOW HILL — A Denton man, who was arrested on drunk-driving and resisting arrest charges last September, pleaded guilty last week to driving while impaired and was sentenced to a year in jail, six months of which was suspended.

Shortly before 5 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2012, the Maryland State Police received two separate calls from the Casino at Ocean Downs in reference to a suspect identified as Sean Aaron Mitchell, 35, of Denton, who was allegedly intoxicated and was leaving the casino in a pick-up truck towing a jet ski. Casino staff advised MSP troopers Mitchell had been removed from the facility around 1 p.m. because he was intoxicated, disorderly and combative.

A short time later, an MSP trooper who took the calls about Mitchell took a stationary position on westbound Route 50 near the Berlin barrack in an effort to locate the vehicle. Not long thereafter, the trooper observed the described pick-up truck towing a jet ski traveling on Route 50. The trooper pulled over the vehicle near Caleb Rd. after observing traffic violations.

Mitchell refused all field sobriety tests and was arrested for driving under the influence. During processing at the Berlin barrack, Mitchell allegedly became combative and attempted to fight with MSP troopers and was also charged with resisting arrest. The September incident was Mitchell’s eighth DUI offense. He was also in violation of not having his vehicle equipped with an interlock system.

Last week, Mitchell pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was sentenced to a year in jail, six months of which were then suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.