Cops And Courts – August 26, 2016

Cops And Courts – August 26, 2016
Social Issues Government 1

Tight Fit Leads To DUI Arrest

WEST OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury woman was arrested on drunk-driving charges last weekend after allegedly attempting to drive between two vehicles stopped at a red light in West Ocean City.

Around 9:30 p.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Routes 50 and 611 in West Ocean City. Upon arrival, troopers observed a 2014 Hyundai wedged between two other vehicles. The investigation revealed a 2005 Honda and a 2008 Dodge were stopped at the red light at Route 50 and Route 611 when the Hyundai driven by Caroline Roop, 24, of Salisbury, attempted to drive between the two stopped vehicles.

Roop’s vehicle then became wedged between the two vehicles. When troopers approached Roop, she exhibited signs of alcohol intoxication and was administered field sobriety tests, which she failed to complete to the officers’ satisfaction.

Nobody was injured in the collision and none of the vehicles needed to be towed. According to police reports, it’s unclear why Roop attempted to drive between the two stopped vehicles. She was charged with driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated along with negligent driving.

Unprovoked Boardwalk Attack

OCEAN CITY — A Philadelphia man was arrested on assault and other charges last weekend after an alleged unprovoked attack on a victim near a Boardwalk ice cream shop.

Around 9:50 p.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City police officer on patrol in the downtown area responded to a reported fight in progress in the area of 6th Street and the Boardwalk. The officer arrived on the scene and was immediately greeted by a suspect later identified on Bruno Wojcik, 27, of Philadelphia, who banged on the officer’s vehicle window with a bloody middle finger, according to police reports. Wojcik reportedly shouted to the officer, “Them two, they bit off my [expletive deleted] finger.”

The officer looked north and observed two African-American males walking away on the Boardwalk. One of the men was interviewed and reportedly told police he was walking on the Boardwalk with his family when he passed Wojcik standing near the ice cream shop. According to police reports, Wojcik allegedly yelled, “what the [expletive deleted] did you say?” as the man passed with his family, but the man told police he did not say anything to Wojcik nor did he even acknowledge him.

The victim told police Wojcik allegedly approached him rapidly and hit him in the head with a closed fist, knocking him to the ground. The victim told police when Wojcik’s finger came near his mouth during the altercation, he bit Wojcik’s finger in self-defense in response to the unprovoked attack.

The second man told police a similar story corroborating the victim’s account of the events. The second man told police he had observed Wojcik’s unprovoked attack on the victim. According to police reports, the second man told police Wojcik approached them aggressively and accused them of speaking to him, although the second man told police they did not respond to Wojcik and walked by without speaking to him.

At that point, Wojcik approached the area where police were interviewing the two men and allegedly screamed in a loud voice, “I’m a victim and I’m a [expletive deleted] firefighter and I would never do this if I were in your position,” according to police reports, and added, “I’m gonna do whatever I want so I guess you’re going to have to tase me.”

According to police reports, throughout the rest of the encounter, Wojick continued to launch obscenities at OCPD officers while onlookers avoided the scene on a busy night on the Boardwalk. Wojcik later admitted to police he was intoxicated and had been drinking heavily earlier in the day. He was arrested and charged with assault, disorderly conduct and intoxicated endangerment.

Burglary Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man was arrested on burglary, malicious destruction of property and other charges last weekend after allegedly smashing out the window of a downtown residence in an attempt to gain entry.

Around 2:34 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City police officer on bicycle patrol was conducting an alcohol violation stop in the area of 7th Street and St. Louis Avenue when he heard what sounded like a large crash in the area behind him. The officer turned to investigate and located a suspect, later identified as Nicholas Franco, 21, of Womelsdorf, Pa., running down the middle of St. Louis Avenue in the area of 6th Street. Franco was trailed by another man who yelled to police, “Hey, that guy just broke a window,” according to police reports.

The officer noticed Franco’s right hand from his pinky finger down to his wrist was covered in multiple lacerations and bleeding profusely. The officer also observed small pieces of glass stuck to Franco’s right hand around the lacerations. While the officer was speaking with Franco, he was approached by two men that told police Franco had entered their apartment and told them he was on the lease and was living there for the summer.

Franco reportedly told the men he was friends with their roommate, but one of the men told Franco his roommate had moved out several days ago and he had never seen Franco before. Franco was reportedly asked to leave the apartment and became angry. After he did leave the apartment, he allegedly continued to bang on the window and yell to be let back in.

At that point, the two men in the apartment told Franco to leave and closed the blinds. A short time later, they heard a loud bang accompanied by the sound of shattering glass, according to police reports. When the two men exited the apartment, they observed Franco running down St. Louis Ave. Based on the evidence and testimony, Franco was arrested and charged with fourth-degree burglary and malicious destruction of property. When a crowd began to form around the arrest site, an additional charge of disorderly conduct was added.

Traffic Dancing After Assault

OCEAN CITY — A Berlin man was arrested on assault and other charges last week after allegedly harassing employees at an Ocean City crab house while asking for alcohol.

Around 10:45 p.m. on Monday, Ocean City Police responded to the Crab Bag in north Ocean City for a reported disorderly individual wearing a red backpack who had been bothering restaurant staff. While approaching the scene, the officer observed a group of about 10 restaurant employees trying to get his attention. The group was pointing at a suspect, later identified as Gregory Sterling, 34, of Berlin, who was walking away on the sidewalk.

The officer then allegedly observed Sterling run east across Coastal Highway in front of around 10 vehicles in the southbound lanes. According to police reports, Sterling allegedly danced in front of the oncoming traffic for about five seconds before stepping onto the median to avoid getting hit. Sterling then stepped off the median in the northbound lanes and repeated the performance, causing vehicles to brake or change lanes to avoid hitting him.

At that point, Sterling was arrested for disorderly conduct and hindering free passage. The officer then spoke to a restaurant employee who told police she was closing up the bar register when Sterling approached and demanded money. When the employee refused, Sterling allegedly asked for alcohol because he had no money. Sterling finally offered to trade prescription pills for alcohol or money.

The employee told police when told no again, Sterling came behind the bar and threatened to strike her with a raised hand. When other employees told Sterling to leave, he allegedly shoved two bar patrons on his way out. In addition to the disorderly conduct count, Sterling was also charged with second-degree assault.

Hit-and-Run After Texting

OCEAN CITY — A Lewes, Del. man was arrested on drunk-driving and other charges last weekend after colliding with another vehicle while texting on Coastal Highway and then fleeing the scene on foot.

A little after 2 p.m. last Saturday, OCPD officers were dispatched to the area of 74th Street and Coastal Highway for a reported hit-and-run collision. The victim told police he was driving south on Coastal Highway when he observed a driver next to him, later identified as Manuel Perez, texting and driving. A short time later, Perez allegedly made an improper lane change and collided with the victim’s vehicle.

No injuries were reported, but the victim told police both he and Perez stopped, but Perez then fled the area on foot. A search of his vehicle revealed a passport and cell phone belonging to Perez. About 40 minutes later, Perez entered police headquarters in an effort to get his property back.

According to police reports, Perez explained he had been in an accident, but was scared and fled the scene. Perez told police he failed to call 911, failed to provide contact or insurance information with the victim, failed to ask the hundred or so pedestrians he had passed for help as he fled on foot. According to police reports, Perez told police he was a little drunk while driving and had been drinking beer, which matched the open container found in his vehicle at the scene. Perez was arrested and charged with drinking and driving, fleeing the scene and other traffic violations.

Frontier Town Trouble

WEST OCEAN CITY — A Woodbine, Md. man was charged with disorderly conduct and was told not to return to Frontier Town last week after an incident at the western theme park in West Ocean City.

Around 6 p.m. last Tuesday, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Frontier Town for a reported disorderly suspect. Deputies met with park security who told police a suspect identified as Ryan Horst, 26, of Woodbine, Md., was seen violating campground rules. After park security attempted to stop Horst to speak with him, the suspect allegedly started yelling obscenities and ran his golf cart into park security’s golf cart.

Deputies made contact with Horst, who allegedly became argumentative and refused to cooperate with the investigation. Horst was placed under arrest and was issued criminal citations for disorderly conduct and trespassing. He was released pending trial and advised not to return to Frontier Town.

Probation For DWI In School Bus Accident

OCEAN CITY — A Pennsylvania man arrested on drunk-driving charges in July after his vehicle collided with a school bus carrying two young children on the Route 50 Bridge was found guilty this week of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol and was fined $400.

Around 7:15 a.m. on July 20, Maryland State Police troopers were dispatched to the area of Talbot Street and Philadelphia Avenue for a reported motor vehicle collision involving a school bus. The investigation revealed a Lincoln sedan driven by Kyle Kenney, 21, of Orrtanna, Pa., was traveling east in the slow lane on the bridge when it crossed over into the fast lane and collided with a school bus driven by Donald Moore, 53, of Berlin.

The school bus was carrying two children, ages seven and eight. The two vehicles involved in the collision continued east across the bridge and stopped at Philadelphia Ave. and Talbot Street. Kenney was administered field sobriety tests which he did not pass to the troopers’ satisfaction and he was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence.

While in custody at the MSP barrack in Berlin, Kenney allegedly became combative and assaulted a trooper although the trooper was not injured. Kenney was charged with DUI, second-degree assault on the police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, negligent driving and other counts. On Tuesday, Kenney was found guilty of driving while impaired and was granted probation for judgment and fined $400.

Fines Issued In Fatality

SNOW HILL — A Stockton man, who was indicted on manslaughter and other charges in April following a February accident that claimed the life of a Worcester County worker and critically injured another, was found guilty last week of negligent driving and reckless endangerment and was fined a combined $1,000.

The Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office in April indicted Marion Marine Jones, 60, on multiple charges including manslaughter, criminal negligence manslaughter, negligent driving and reckless driving. Jones was the driver in the Feb. 22 collision that killed county worker Scott Tatterson, 48, of Pocomoke and sent fellow county worker Wade Pusey, 23, of Seaford, to Shock Trauma with critical injuries.

Around 1:20 p.m. on Feb. 22, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Greenbackville Road near Ticktown Rd. in Stockton for a reported motor vehicle crash involving pedestrians. The preliminary investigation revealed two Worcester County Public Works Roads Division employees were working on the side of Greenbackville Road when a 2010 Kia attempted to pass around the work area.

The driver, later identified as Jones, allegedly swerved back into its lane to avoid an oncoming vehicle and drove through the work area and struck the two Worcester County employees. Last week, Jones was found guilty of negligent driving and reckless endangerment and was fined $500 for each conviction. The vehicular manslaughter charges were not prosecuted.

10-Day Sentence For Assault

OCEAN CITY — A Florida man arrested on assault charges in April after allegedly scrapping with security guards who had observed him attempting to enter parked cars at a mid-town hotel was found guilty of assault last week and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Around 12:40 a.m. on April 24, an OCPD officer on patrol was dispatched to the Princess Bayside Hotel at 47th Street for a reported disorderly suspect. Upon arrival, the officer observed several security staff from the hotel holding down a suspect, later identified as Michael Fitzgibbon, 32, of Archer, Fla., in the parking lot.

The officer met with one member of the security staff who said he observed Fitzgibbon attempting to enter a parked car in the hotel lot and when the security guard approached Fitzgibbon to tell him to get away from the vehicle, Fitzgibbon allegedly charged at the guard and they both fell to the ground.

Another security guard heard the first security guard yell for help and came to assist. By the time the second guard arrived, Fitzgibbon was back on his feet and squared up as if to fight the security staff again. At that point, he was tackled to the ground again, which is when police arrived.

Fitzgibbon was issued a trespass warning and was escorted off the property with the understanding if he returned, he would be arrested. A short time later, Fitzgibbon returned to the hotel property and was arrested for assault and trespassing. Last week, Fitzgibbon was found guilty of second-degree assault and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.