Driver Wears Tire Rubber Off On OC Median

OCEAN CITY — A Norfolk man was arrested on drunk-driving and numerous traffic violations this week after getting his vehicle stuck on the raised median on Coastal Highway and making a frantic attempt to get it off to the point he wore the rubber off his  tire.

Around 12:50 a.m. on Wednesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a single-vehicle crash on northbound Coastal Highway at 129th Street in the area of the north-end fire station. The officer and a witness observed the driver, identified as Robert Ridgwell, 63, of Norfolk, behind the wheel of a 1998 Volvo that was stuck on the raised median facing north.

According to police reports, Ridgwell had the gas pedal depressed and was furiously attempting to get the vehicle off the median. The front end of the vehicle was in one of the southbound lanes, while the rear end was in the northbound left turn lane.

Due to Ridgwell attempting to dislodge the vehicle from the median, the Volvo’s rear passenger side tire was spinning, but the vehicle was not moving. According to police reports, the rear tires were spewing rubber out onto Coastal Highway until the rubber was all gone and just the metal rim remained. The metal rim then dug into the macadam about four inches, destroying the roadway surface. The evidence showed Ridgwell had exited northbound Coastal Highway, drove up onto the median over a curb, drove over shrubs and then got stuck on the median.

According to police reports, Ridgwell exhibited several signs of intoxication slurred and mumbled speech to the point the officers could not understand him. Also according to police reports, he could not stand on his own and had to be assisted by police. He was administered a series of simple field sobriety tests which he did not pass to the officers’ satisfaction.

At that point, he was placed under arrest for driving under the influence. According to police reports, when Ridgwell was transported to the Public Safety Building for processing, he uttered expletives at the booking officers at least 40 times. When a female officer attempted to help in the booking process, Ridgwell allegedly launched into a series of derogatory expletives at her. He refused to submit to an alcohol concentration test and had to be carried to his cell, according to police reports.

Ridgwell was charged with driving under the influence and 12 other traffic violations. He was released later on Wednesday after posting a $5,000 bond.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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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.