Cops And Courts – March 15, 2019

Cops And Courts – March 15, 2019

Charges Filed In Bridge Crash

OCEAN CITY — An Annapolis man faces a slew of charges after allegedly crashing his vehicle into the median at the foot of the Route 50 Bridge and fleeing the scene on foot.

Around 2:20 a.m. last Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to the area near the base of the bridge and Philadelphia Avenue for a reported vehicle collision that had already occurred. Ocean City Communications informed the responding officers a vehicle had struck the median and its wooden pylons before the driver fled the area on foot. Ocean City Communications also provided a description of the driver.

OCPD officers arrived on the scene and observed a disabled van facing south in the eastbound lanes on Route 50. One officer blocked traffic on eastbound Route 50 with his patrol vehicle for safety reasons while another officer searched for the driver nearby. A short time later, an employee of a nearby convenience store informed Ocean City Communications the driver, later identified as Charles Allewalt, 30, of Annapolis, was inside the store.

OCPD officers responded to the convenience store and made contact with Allewalt, who reportedly matched the description provided by witnesses at the scene. According to police reports, Allewalt exhibited signs of intoxication.

Allewalt denied he was the operator of the vehicle that had driven over the median and through the wooden pylons before becoming disabled in the eastbound lanes of the span. The investigation revealed the van was traveling southbound on Philadelphia Avenue when it failed to negotiate the on-ramp to the Route 50 bridge and crashed into the median.

According to police reports, the van was damaged to the point it was completely disabled and was blocking the eastbound lanes on the bridge. A review of the town’s City Watch surveillance system footage revealed the van ran into the median and through the wooden pylons with the driver fleeing the scene on foot.

A review of the convenience store’s surveillance footage revealed Allewalt walking into the store just moments later. Allewalt was charged with driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and numerous other traffic violations.


Intoxicated Scene At Hotel

OCEAN CITY — A Forest Hill, Md. man was arrested on disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace charges last weekend after allegedly causing a disturbance at an uptown hotel.

Around midnight last Saturday, an off-duty Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer working in a private capacity as security at an event at an uptown hotel hosted by Salisbury University’s men’s varsity soccer team identified Jeffrey Mergler, 21, of Forest Hill. Event staff told the officer Mergler was prohibited from buying any more alcoholic beverages, but became argumentative with the staff because he thought that was unfair.

The hotel’s general manager told the officer Mergler had become argumentative and verbally abusive to the staff. The officer made contact with Mergler, who exhibited signs of intoxication, according to police reports. Mergler reportedly told the officer it was unfair that he was not allowed to have any more alcoholic beverages because he was 21 years old. According to police reports, he continually pulled out his wallet and produced identification showing the officer he was 21.

Mergler was told to leave the area of the function, but was observed at different times sitting at other bars within the hotel that served alcohol, according to police reports. The other bars had been warned about Mergler and did not serve him because of his condition, according to police reports.

A short time later, the same officer observed Mergler in the hallway on the seventh floor with a bottle of beer. According to police reports, when Mergler saw the officer, he raised the bottle to his mouth and took a drink, pointing out to the officer that he was 21 and was allowed to do so.

According to police reports, Mergler’s friends and acquaintances made contact with the officer and apologized for his “childish behavior” and disrespect for the law, according to police reports. The officer noted in the report, Mergler was seen at least a dozen times in areas of the hotel where he was not permitted, nor was the general public permitted.

According to police reports, the hotel’s general manager was drawn away from his normal duties to handle Mergler and other employees including kitchen staff were drawn away from their jobs to keep him from going into restricted areas. In addition, Mergler was seen randomly opening elevator doors and interacting with other hotel patrons who tried to avoid him.

Finally, the hotel manager told Mergler in the presence of OCPD officers he was no longer allowed on the hotel premises. The manager was able to determine Mergler’s room number and OCPD officers escorted him to the room to gather his belongings. He was told if he came back on the property he would be arrested for trespassing.

A short time later, Mergler was observed in the hotel parking lot allegedly jumping up and down and causing a scene, essentially asking OCPD officers to arrest him. When a marked OCPD vehicle transporting an arrestee from another incident came through the hotel parking lot, Mergler allegedly blocked its path and refused to let it proceed, according to police reports. He was ultimately arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing and trespassing.


Burglary Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A local homeless man was charged with burglary last week after allegedly setting up housekeeping in a vacant downtown residential property.

Around 2:50 a.m. last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer conducted a residential check at an apartment building in the area of 2nd Street when another officer earlier had reported what appeared to be recently-discarded beer cans in the backyard. The OCPD officers knew the property was vacant during the winter and had been victimized by burglary in the past, according to police reports.

The officer responded and observed a light on inside of a storage or utility closet which was out of the ordinary from previous welfare checks on the property. The officer also noticed a piece of denim fabric along the base of the closet door as if to block light from inside from shining out or perhaps to prevent cold air from getting in.

While the officer was on scene, he observed a male individual exit the storage closet and walk toward Philadelphia Avenue. The officer activated his emergency equipment and stopped the individual, whom he knew as Scott Bryant, 62, of no fixed address, from previous encounters with the suspect.

According to police reports, Bryant only had one question for the officer and that was “How did you know?” Bryant was arrested and charged with fourth-degree burglary.