Cops & Courts – February 25, 2022

Over 90 Blocks Driving Wrong Way On Highway

OCEAN CITY — A Delaware man was arrested on drunk-driving and numerous other charges last week after driving over 90 blocks the wrong way on Coastal Highway, including over 60 blocks with resort police vehicles with emergency lights and sirens activated tailing him.

Around 9:55 p.m. last Friday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling 77th Street observed a vehicle’s headlights traveling directly toward his vehicle as he traveled southbound on Coastal Highway. For the officer’s safety and the safety of others, the officer stopped the patrol vehicle with emergency lights activated in an attempt to stop the vehicle, which was heading northbound in the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway.

The driver of the vehicle was later identified as John Witte, 53, of Middletown, Del. The officer activated the patrol vehicle’s lights and sirens and made a U-turn to follow Witte as he continued to travel north in the southbound lanes of the highway. When it was safe to do so, the officer diverted to the northbound side of the highway and paralleled with Witte with emergency lights and siren activated.

According to police reports, the officer observed multiple vehicles in the southbound lanes pull over to avoid a head-on collision with Witte. Witte continued to travel the wrong way on Coastal Highway for several blocks. In the area of the Gold Coast Mall, Witte’s vehicle struck the raised median divider curb, but he continued traveling north in the southbound lanes with no indication of any plans of stopping, despite being followed by OCPD vehicles with lights and sirens activated, according to police reports.

Witte did stop at a red traffic signal at 118th Street, but when the OCPD officer got out and attempted to make contact with him, he took off again in the southbound lanes when the light changed to green, according to police reports. OCPD officers were able to deploy stop sticks at 120th Street and successfully struck the front driver’s side tire of Witte’s vehicle.

Nonetheless, he continued driving north in the southbound lanes. According to police reports, numerous vehicles swerved or took evasive action to avoid a collision with Witte’s vehicle in the area of 133rd Street.

OCPD officers deployed stop sticks again and were successful in deflating the two rear tires of Witte’s vehicle. However, he continued driving north in the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway. According to police reports, Witte never did exceed the posted speed limit and was often under it at different times during the incident.

At 140th Street, Witte turned into an alley, drove over the concrete parking barrier at a condominium complex and came to a stop in the parking lot. According to police reports, Witte exhibited signs of intoxication and he was taken into custody.

Witte agreed to speak with OCPD officers and told them he had been drinking at a bar, but that he had just had six beers. He told police he was attempting to drive home to Middletown, Del., which is around two hours away. Witte reportedly told police, “I thought I drank sufficiently less to get home without a DUI.” When asked if he knew why he had been stopped, Witte reportedly told police, “I don’t know why,” and when he was told he had driven over 60 blocks the wrong way on Coastal Highway, Witte reportedly advised, “If I was across the road, that’s bad,” and “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

Witte was charged with driving under the influence, driving while impaired and numerous traffic violations, along with an open container charge for the alcoholic beverage found in the center console of his vehicle.


Charges Filed After Barging Into Party

OCEAN CITY — A local man was arrested on burglary charges last weekend after allegedly breaking into an uptown unit for a reported party he learned about on social media.

Around 8:05 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to a residence at 144th Street for a reported breaking and entering in progress. Ocean City Communications advised the property owner had reported no one had permission to be inside of the home, according to police reports, and also advised the residence was an A-frame style of home.

OCPD officers arrived and set up a perimeter around the residence. One OCPD officer reportedly observed four males running from the west side of the residence. An OCPD officer drew his handgun on the males as they were running from the unit and yelled at them to get on the ground.

All four of the individuals, including a suspect identified as Jonathan Brandhuber, 22, of Ocean City, and three juveniles, complied with the officer’s order and laid down on their stomachs on 144th Street. The suspects were handcuffed and relocated to a nearby curb.

After being identified, Brandhuber and the three juveniles told police they had come to the unit for a party. The suspects told police they had learned about the alleged party through the popular social media platform Snapchat, although they did not know who had posted the invitation.

The officer determined the information was either shared on Snapchat by an individual with whom all parties were friends on the platform, or the information was shared to SnapMaps which as an actual map on which one can zoom in or zoom out. In either case, Brandhuber was charged with breaking and entering. The disposition of the juvenile suspects is not known.


Pizza Shop Scrap

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on assault and other charges last weekend after allegedly getting into a fight in a downtown pizza parlor with another man.

Around 2 a.m. last Sunday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was patrolling in the area of 7th Street when a female ran outside of a pizza restaurant waving him inside. The female reportedly told the officer people were fighting inside. The officer looked through the window and observed two men fighting inside, including a suspect identified as Brandon Olszewski, 29, of Ocean City.

According to police reports, Olszewski was standing over the other man in a booth-style table and striking the other man with a closed fist. The officer noted in the report the other man was not fighting back. The officer entered the restaurant and grabbed and handcuffed Olszewski, according to police reports.

The officer reportedly asked several of the patrons inside what had happened. The witnesses reported the two men had been in a heated exchange of words when Olszewski began to strike the other man in the head and face. OCPD officers interviewed the other man, who had blood coming from his mouth and finger, according to police reports.

The victim reportedly told police Olszewski’s actions were unwarranted and he did not fight back because he was on probation. Olszewski was arrested and charged with affray, second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.