Officer, Suspect Injured During DUI Arrest

OCEAN CITY – A New York man was arrested early Monday morning after allegedly fleeing from police in his vehicle at a high rate of speed and then assaulting officers during his subsequent arrest.

Around 1:50 a.m. on Monday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer on patrol in the area of 25th Street observed a vehicle traveling northbound on Philadelphia Avenue at an estimated 70 mph in a 35-mph zone. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle in the area of 28th Street, but the driver, later identified as Erik Rucker II, 40, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., continued to drive at a high rate of speed, swerving in and out of his designated lane and failing to stop for the officer, who had activated the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and sirens.

The vehicle eventually stopped at 38th Street. OCPD officers detected a strong odor of alcohol as they approached the vehicle, according to police reports. OCPD officers identified Rucker and learned his Nevada driver’s license was suspended. When officers attempted to complete standard field sobriety tests on Rucker, he became uncooperative, according to police reports.


Erik Rucker

OCPD officers at that point placed Rucker under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, fleeing and eluding and disorderly conduct. While Rucker was seated in the back seat of the patrol vehicle, officers reportedly heard him attempting to make a phone call from his smart watch, according to police reports.

For the safety of the suspect and the officers, arrestees are not permitted to make phone calls on the scene while on custody. Rucker was informed he could make a call from the Public Safety Building after he was transported for processing, according to police reports.

When officers attempted to remove the watch, Rucker became aggressive toward the officers and began thrashing around to prevent the removal of the watch, according to police reports. Rucker reportedly kicked the arresting officer repeatedly in the face, chest and arms, according to police reports.

A second officer was kicked multiple times while trying to gain control of Rucker in the backseat of the transport vehicle. When officers attempted to remove Rucker from the transport vehicle, he allegedly continued to thrash his body, causing him to fall to the sidewalk, according to police reports.

Ocean City EMS was requested to the scene for both Rucker and the arresting officer. Rucker was transported to Atlantic General Hospital by police for minor injuries. The arresting officer was transported by ambulance to Atlantic General Hospital and was later released, according to police reports.

Rucker was charged with multiple counts of second-degree assault on law enforcement officers, disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering, driving while impaired by alcohol and driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances and numerous traffic violations. He was seen by a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held without bail before being transferred to the Worcester County Jail.

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.