Cops And Courts – March 8, 2019

Median Trees Removed

BERLIN — State Highway Administration (SHA) contractors this week removed trees in the center median along Route 50 just east of the Wal-Mart for safety reasons after the area has seen tragic accidents in recent years including a fatality in early February.

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For safety reasons, several trees were removed this week from the median on Route 50 near the Glen Riddle entrance. Above, crews are pictured on Wednesday near where family and friends created a memorial after a recent fatal accident. Photo by Steve Green

On Wednesday morning, SHA contractors began removing the familiar stand of tall trees in the center median on Route 50 opposite the Glen Riddle community. By Wednesday afternoon, all that remained were a couple of stumps cut close to ground level. SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said the trees were being removed for safety reasons after a spate of serious and sometimes fatal accidents in the immediate area including most recently a single-vehicle accident on Feb. 6 that claimed the life of a former Stephen Decatur High School student.

“We are removing these trees so there is less chance of anyone potentially striking them,” he said. “Crews started today [Wednesday] and at this moment the contractor is grinding out the stumps.”

Around 4:20 a.m. on Feb. 6, Maryland State Police, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies and the Ocean City Fire Department responded to the area of Route 50 near Riddle Lane for a reported single-vehicle collision. The investigation revealed a vehicle heading eastbound on Route 50 left the roadway and struck the copse of trees in the median.

The driver succumbed to injuries sustained in the collision and was pronounced deceased at the scene. In March 2014, a local woman was driving east on Route 50 when her vehicle left the roadway and struck the same stand of tall trees in the median and perished from injuries sustained in the collision.


Jail For Cocaine Dealer

OCEAN CITY — A West Ocean City man, arrested in October after being observed sharing a bag of powdered cocaine with other individuals near a downtown bar, pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and was sentenced to five years, all but one year of which was suspended.

Around 1:25 a.m. last Oct. 6, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was patrolling in an undercover capacity in the area of a downtown bar at South Baltimore Avenue when his attention was drawn to a group of individuals who had left the establishment and walked south before stopping in a cutout near its rear entrance.

According to police reports, the officer continued to observe as the four individuals stopped and sat on a set of steps along Baltimore Avenue. As the officer watched from a distance, he reportedly saw one of the suspects, later identified as Danial Harrison, Jr., 27, of West Ocean City, remove a clear plastic bag with a white powdered substance from his pants.

According to police reports, Harrison looked both north and south along the sidewalk before retrieving the bag in an effort to make sure the group wasn’t observed. Harrison then reportedly pulled from the bag a rolled-up bill and put it to his nose, according to police reports. While the officer watched, Harrison allegedly passed the bag and rolled-up bill to three other individuals in the group.

After a second rotation with Harrison and the group appearing to share what was later determined to be powder cocaine, other uniformed officers were requested to detain the suspects. A search of the area revealed a bag of suspected powder cocaine in the area where Harrison and the group had been seated.
Harrison was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. During a search incident to the arrest, a spring-assisted opening knife was found on his person and additional charges were tacked on.  On Tuesday, Harrison pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and was sentenced to five years, all but one of which was then suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years upon his release.


10 Days For Fake Name

OCEAN CITY — A Fruitland man, arrested in November on outstanding warrants and for providing a false name to police after being found sleeping in a vehicle in Ocean City, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Around 12:40 a.m. on Nov. 13, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was patrolling in the area of 3rd Street when he observed two individuals sleeping in a vehicle in violation of a town ordinance. The officer shined his flashlight in the vehicle, but the two occupants did not immediately wake up. The officer also noticed a bag of suspect marijuana in the vehicle.

When the officer tapped on the window, the female in the front passenger seat woke up, but the driver, later identified as Tremayne Nelson-Nichols, 24, of Fruitland, did not immediately wake up and was aroused by the female passenger.

The occupants were advised they were in violation of the city ordinance and were asked to step out of the vehicle. Because the amount of marijuana in the vehicle was less than 10 grams, there was no criminal arrest for possession.

The officer collected information for the two occupants and Nelson-Nichols initially identified himself to police as Damont Leion Stevenson. However, while standing behind the suspect, the officer addressed him multiple times as Mr. Stevenson, but Nelson-Nichols did not respond, indicating he was being deceptive about his identity.

Then, the officer called in a background check for Damont Leion Stevenson with negative results. However, the report did come up for a Damont Leon Stevenson and the suspect told police he had misspelled his middle name, lending further evidence he was being deceptive about his identity. The background check revealed there were outstanding warrants for Damont Leon Stevenson in Wicomico County and at that point, the suspect was taken into custody.

Stevenson reportedly told police that must be a mistake, but his father, Damont Stevenson, Sr., had active warrants in North Carolina. Ocean City Communications confirmed there were no warrants for Damont Stevenson, Jr. and the suspect was taken out of handcuffs. However, Ocean City Communications did inform the officer Stevenson was involved in a drug distribution arrest handled by the OCPD officer in June 2017. When asked about that incident, the suspect told the officer he had no recollection of that arrest, which further led the officer to believe the suspect was being deceptive about his identity.

The officer requested Ocean City Communications send him a photo of Damont Stevenson and did not match the suspect he had before him. For one thing, the suspect in the picture identified as Stevenson did not have the same distinctive tattoos as the man standing before the officer. After more investigation, the suspect identified himself as Nelson-Nichols. He told police Stevenson was his first cousin, according to police reports.

Another background check revealed Nelson-Nichols was wanted on multiple outstanding warrants from different agencies ranging from robbery, theft, assault, malicious destruction of property and traffic charges.

Last week, on the Worcester County charges, Nelson-Nichols pleaded guilty to identity fraud to avoid prosecution and was sentenced to 10 days. He still has robbery and assault charges in Wicomico and is scheduled to appear for trial in April.


Warrant For Alleged Exposer

OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury man, arrested in January on indecent exposure charges after allegedly exposing himself to a woman in a hotel laundry room in Ocean City, failed to appear in court this week as scheduled and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a hotel at 112th Street for a reported indecent exposure incident. The responding officer met a woman in the hotel lobby who reported she was in the laundry room when an unidentified male pulled out his penis and began rubbing it. While the victim was speaking to police, the suspect, later identified as Kevin Chandler, 41, of Salisbury, approached the front desk and the victim told police he was the man who exposed himself to her.

According to police reports, the officer approached Chandler and told him he needed to speak with him, but Chandler told the officer he did not want to speak with him and that he had laundry in a washing machine he needed to get. The officer again told Chandler he needed to talk to him, but Chandler denied anything had happened in the laundry room. It was a back-and-forth conversation that continued repeatedly.

According to police reports, the entire time the officer was speaking with Chandler, the suspect swayed back and forth and was off balance. He was also holding quarters in his hand and kept dropping them, according to police reports.

OCPD officers continued to question the victim, who told police she was in the laundry room and had made small talk with Chandler while both were washing clothes. The victim told police she turned around at one point and Chandler had exposed his penis to her. The victim told police Chandler did not pull down his pants, but rather pulled his penis out of the top of his pants.

The victim told police she immediately left the laundry room and the police were contacted. Based on the testimony, Chandler was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. He was scheduled for trial on Wednesday but failed to appear and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.