Cops & Courts

Cops & Courts
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Passed Out At Gas Pumps

OCEAN CITY — A Bishopville man was arrested on driving under the influence of narcotics and weapons charges last week after being found passed out at the gas pumps of a midtown convenience store.

Around 5:50 p.m. last Wednesday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer responded to a convenience store at 59th Street for a reported individual passed out in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with the engine running at the gas pumps. OCPD officers arrived and found the suspect, later identified as Christopher Stant, 27, of Bishopville, passed out and unresponsive in the driver’s seat.

The officers were able to awake Stant and asked him to get out of the vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, a roughly one-foot section of PVC pipe with an angled end was found wedged to the left of the driver’s seat. Wedged behind the driver’s seat was a baseball bat, according to police reports. OCPD officers also located various knives throughout the vehicle and on Stant’s person.

According to police reports, Stant showed signs of being impaired. When interviewed, Stant told police he was using methadone and his dosage had recently been increased, which is why he was passed out behind the wheel of the vehicle. He also told police his increased dosage of methadone was the reason why he could not stay awake while driving and that he had been nodding off at red traffic signals and stop signs.

At that point, Stant was arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance and driving while so far impaired by CDS that he could not safely operate a vehicle. He was also charged with possession of a concealed deadly weapon.

During a search of Stant’s person incident to the arrest, a secret hidden compartment was found in his belt. Inside the hidden compartment, OCPD officers found two bundles containing around 10 wax paper packages of suspect heroin and additional charges were tacked on.

Hotel Lobby Incident Results In Arrests

OCEAN CITY — A New York couple was arrested on disorderly conduct charges last weekend after allegedly causing a scene during an argument with a hotel clerk after getting locked out of their room.

Around 4:10 a.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a Boardwalk hotel at 14th Street for a reported civil dispute. Upon arrival, the OCPD officer observed Juan Zepeda, 24, of New Rochelle, N.Y., and Munguia Zepeda, 23, also of New Rochelle, arguing with a front-desk worker. According to police reports, the couple was intoxicated and belligerent.

The officer reported it was difficult to determine what was going on because the two suspects would not stop arguing with the front desk clerk. Finally, the OCPD officer was able to speak to the employee, who told police the couple had been locked out of their hotel room and had been banging aggressively on another hotel door in which none of their party was staying. The employee told police the guest in that room called to complain.

According to police reports, the argument between the employee and the two suspects went on for about 40 minutes. Despite the ordeal, the hotel clerk did not want to evict the two suspects. OCPD officers encouraged the couple to go back to their room and readdress the situation in the morning when they were sober and there was a manager present.

According to police reports, officers even hit the elevator call button in an attempt to get the suspects to go back to their rooms, but they continued to fight with the clerk. The Zepadas were eventually arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Couple Arrested After Domestic Altercation

OCEAN CITY — A York, Pa. couple was arrested on assault and disorderly conduct charges last week after an alleged fight that began in a motel parking lot and spilled over into a motel room.

Around 2:15 a.m. last Friday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a motel at 29th Street for a reported domestic incident. The responding officer met with the motel clerk who advised a couple, later identified as Adam Miller, 27, of York, Pa., and Mariah Burgess, 22, also of York, had pulled into the parking lot and were arguing inside the vehicle.

The motel clerk told police Burgess was driving and Miller got out and either punched or kicked the vehicle, according to police reports. The clerk told police she approached the couple and asked them to quiet down, but Miller allegedly launched into an expletive-laced tirade at the clerk. When the clerk, told the couple she was going to call the police, Miller allegedly directed the same expletives toward the officers arriving on the scene.

The clerk told police the couple eventually went into their first-floor unit and the altercation allegedly continued. The clerk reportedly told police other guests of the motel had called and complained about the noise. The OCPD officers on the scene could hear the couple arguing inside the room.

An OCPD officer interviewed Miller, who told police the argument began when Burgess accused him of looking at another woman while they were out shopping and escalated when they returned to the motel. Miller did admit striking his own vehicle, but denied the argument ever became physical. OCPD officers observed fresh scratch marks on Miller’s neck, but Miller explained the scratch marks from his razor and that he was a bad shaver, according to police reports.

Another officer interviewed Burgess, who said the verbal argument had turned physical. The OCPD officer observed Burgess’ shirt to be disorderly and ripped, consistent with the fight reported by the witness. An inspection of Burgess’ hands revealed blood on her fingers. Based on the evidence and testimony, Burgess and Miller were each arrested and charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

Two Injured In Highway Crash

BERLIN — Two people were seriously injured in a single-vehicle accident on Route 113 near Goody Hill Lane last Saturday.

Around 11:20 a.m. last Saturday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported single-vehicle crash on northbound Route 113 near Goody Hill Lane. Through witness statements, the preliminary investigation revealed a 2003 Cadillac for reasons unknown had swerved from one to the other numerous times. At one point, the vehicle spun into the middle lane and struck the guardrail on the left side of the roadway.

The driver, identified as William Odell Frazier, 71, sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported by state police helicopter to Peninsula Regional Medical Center. The front seat passenger, identified as Mae B. Frazier, 79, was transported to PRMC by EMS with serious injuries. Northbound Route 113 was shut down for about an hour following the accident, according to police reports.

Probation For Disturbance

OCEAN CITY — A Forest Hill, Md. man, arrested in March after allegedly causing a disturbance at an uptown hotel, pleaded guilty this week to disorderly conduct and was placed on probation for one year.

Around midnight on March 8, 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 a suspect later identified as 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 7th 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. This week, Mergler pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received probation before judgment. He was placed on probation for one year.

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.