SNOW HILL – State and federal aviation officials were in Worcester County this week investigating a plane crash that resulted in the aircraft sitting in the median of Route 113 just north of Pocomoke.
Around 12:20 p.m. last Sunday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to the area of Route 113 near Groton Rd. just north of Pocomoke for a reported plane crash. Upon arrival, troopers discovered a Hawk ultra-light airplane crashed in the median of the highway. The pilot, later identified as Preston Norman Smith, 80, of Pocomoke, walked away from the crash uninjured.
The preliminary investigation indicated the aircraft experienced fuel complications. On Monday, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) officials came to the MSP Berlin barrack to conduct a post-crash investigation. Meanwhile, Route 113 remained open although some lanes were restricted during after the crash to allow for the aircraft recovery.
Juveniles Arrested For Burglary
OCEAN PINES – Three juveniles were arrested for burglary and theft last week after Ocean Pines police connected the teens to a break-in in the community.
Two 14-year-olds and a 13-year-old, two from Ocean Pines and one from Berlin, were arrested last week after investigators linked them to a burglary at a residence in the community. Cash, electronic devices and several knives valued at over $1,000 were taken from the home during the burglary, Roughly $400 in cash and stolen property were later recovered.
The teens were each charged with third-degree burglary and theft over $500. The case has been turned over to Worcester County Juvenile Justice for adjudication.
Off-Duty Cop Nails Pot Smokers
BERLIN – Two local girls were arrested on marijuana possession charges last week after an off-duty Worcester County Sheriff’s deputy observed them passing a bowl back and forth in their vehicle.
On July 11, the deputy driving east on Route 50 observed two individuals, later identified as Amanda Leigh Shockley, 21, of Willards, and Brandy Nicole Hunsucker, 26, of Salisbury, in a vehicle passing a marijuana smoking pipe back and forth. The deputy called the Maryland State Police Berlin barrack and reported his observation.
MSP troopers were able to locate the suspect vehicle and pulled it over on Route 50 near Route 90. Based on the deputy’s information, the troopers searched the vehicle and found the bowl with burnt marijuana residue in the center console. Shockley and Hunsucker were both arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. They were later released after on their own recognizance.
Four Arrested For Pier Burglaries
OCEAN CITY – Four New York teens were arrested on burglary charges last week after employees on the Boardwalk pier provided their descriptions to police.
Around 10:35 p.m. last Tuesday, employees of Pier Amusements contacted Ocean City police about a series of thefts on the popular Boardwalk attraction. Based on the descriptions provided by the employees, OCPD officers were able to locate the four suspects only a block from the crime scene. Arrested were Ian Malachy Ellis-Jones, 18, of Albany, N.Y.; Michael Thomas Dwyer, 18, of Hudson, N.Y.; Gregory Arthur Wilson, 18, of Red Hook, N.Y.; and Peter William Marvin, 18, also of Red Hook.
The investigation resulted in the recovery of several items stolen from Pier Amusements including T-shirts, stuffed toys and tools. One of those arrested was identified as the suspect in a second-degree burglary in the resort the night before. The four suspects face a variety of charges from burglary to theft and all four were taken before a District Court Commissioner. Ellis-Jones was released after posting a $7,500 bond, while Dwyer and Marvin were released after posting $10,000 bonds. Wilson was released on his own recognizance.
OCEAN CITY – Two men were arrested on assault and other charges during an incident at Coastal Highway and Jamestown Rd. last week after a crowd let out from an uptown establishment.
Shortly after 2 a.m. last Thursday, an OCPD bicycle officer on routine patrol observed a man later identified as Jeffery Allen Lyles, Jr., 23, of Salisbury, assaulting another man on Jamestown Rd. Lyles was eventually arrested and charged with second-degree assault. However, numerous individuals remained in the area of Jamestown Rd. and Coastal Highway and more OCPD officers were called to the scene as the crowd became increasingly larger and more defiant.
The police were eventually able to break up the crowd, but not before making a second arrest, charging Darian Lamar Waters, 21, of Snow Hill, with second-degree assault of a police officer and failure to obey a lawful order. Both Waters and Lyles were taken before a District Court Commissioner and released on their own recognizance.
Two Arrested For Damaging Cars
OCEAN CITY – Ocean City police this week arrested two suspects for damaging parked cars in the downtown area after a citizen provided detailed descriptions of the individuals and their activities.
Around 2:45 a.m. on Monday, OCPD officers responded to the 13th Street area in response to a citizen’s report of two male suspects damaging parked cars. The caller provided police with a very detailed description of the suspects and the direction they traveled after their illegal activity.
OCPD officers were able to locate the suspects a short time later not far from the scene of the vandalism and the witness was brought over to the area to positively identify them.
The suspects, identified as Kyle Scott Hartzell, 23, of Ocean City, and Bruce James Richardson, 23, of Wildwood, Mich., were subsequently arrested and charged with four counts each of malicious destruction of property after the investigation revealed they had damaged as many as four cars. Hartzell and Richardson were taken before a District Court Commissioner and later released on their own recognizance.
Second Working Girl Convicted
OCEAN CITY – A Falls Church, Va. woman arrested in early June along with another woman and a man for soliciting undercover OCPD officers pleaded guilty this week in District Court to prostitution and was sentenced to a year in jail, which was then suspended in favor of probation and a fine.
Around 1:30 a.m. on June 6, OCPD detectives responded to the 49th Street area after witness complaints about people soliciting for prostitution. OCPD detectives arrived at the scene and observed a blue Dodge van with several people crowded around it.
Undercover detectives moved closer to the van and were approached by a man later identified as Maurice Lawrence Monroe, 30, of Temple Hills, who was soliciting prostitutes. The detectives engaged in a conversation with Monroe and two of his female associates, later identified as Essence Ethel Marie Scott, 22, of Falls Church, Va., and Janita Ellison, 38, of Temple Hills.
According to police reports, Monroe negotiated with the undercover detectives to exchange money for sex with Scott and Ellison. At that point, the undercover detectives placed Monroe, Scott and Ellison under arrest for charges related to the prostitution scheme. The van and $310 in currency was seized as part of the arrest of the three suspects. In addition, a small amount of pot was discovered inside the van and Monroe was also charged with possession of marijuana.
This week in District Court, Scott pleaded guilty to prostitution-general and was sentenced to a year in jail. The sentence was then suspended and Scott was placed on probation for three years and fined $500. Last week, Ellison appeared to face the same charges and was found guilty and received the same exact sentence. Monroe is scheduled to appear in court for his role in the incident on Sept. 10.
Single Vehicle Accident
BERLIN – No injuries were reported last week when a vehicle left the roadway near the intersection of Sinepuxent and Antique roads in Berlin and ended up on its side.
Last Friday, the Ocean City Fire Department was dispatched to a reported single vehicle accident on Sinepuxent Rd. near Antique Rd. First arriving units found the vehicle on its side on the side of the road with all of the occupants outside the vehicle. Fire units and EMS responded to the scene but the occupants refused treatment. Units remained on the scene for about a half an hour while the vehicle was towed away.
Juvy Gets DUI After Accident
BERLIN – A juvenile was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence this week after hitting a guardrail on Route 90 just east of Route 589.
Around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, a Maryland State Police trooper responded to the area of Routes 90 and 589 to assist a motorist. Upon arrival, the trooper made contact with the driver and lone occupant of the vehicle, a 17-year-old juvenile from Bishopville, who told police his tire blew out causing him to strike the guardrail.
While talking with the juvenile, the trooper detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person, according to police reports. After a series of field sobriety tests, the juvenile was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He was taken to the MSP Berlin barrack for processing and later released to the custody of his mother.
Two More Boardwalk
OCEAN CITY – Two more of the 16 suspects arrested during a major brawl on the Boardwalk in early June appeared in District Court this week to stand trial for their parts in the melee and came away with identical convictions but different sentences.
Roger Savage, 18, of Parksley, Va., was found guilty this week on disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges for his role in the June 6 fight on the Boardwalk and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Martin Francois, 23, of Salisbury, was also found guilty of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and was fined $250.
Another one of the suspects, Donnell Acree, 20, of Statesboro, Ga., was found guilty last week of disorderly conduct and was placed on probation and fined $200. The rest of the 16 suspects arrested during the brawl have court dates scheduled for later this summer or early fall.
Around 10:20 p.m. on June 6, OCPD officers responded to Worcester Street in response to a reported fight that had occurred in the under-21 nightclub H20, which had spilled out into the street. Upon arrival, police observed two females, later identified as Tanee Donyale Dudley, 18, and a 17-year-old juvenile, both of Dover, involved in an loud argument that was beginning to escalate into a fight.
Both were subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct.
Due to the large crowd at the underage club and the incident that had already occurred, an OCPD officer remained in the area throughout the evening. When the club closed at midnight, a large crowd dispersed and relocated to the Boardwalk near Worcester Street.
At around 1:30 a.m., police reports indicate a fight broke out in the area of Worcester Street and the Boardwalk. OCPD officers on hand immediately dissolved the situation and made several arrests, but other individuals unrelated to the initial altercation began to fight as well. OCPD officers arrested 10 during the first incident, and when the dust had settled after the second, six more had been arrested bring the total number of arrests to 16 during the riot.
Safety Warnings Issued
In Wake Of Accidents
OCEAN CITY – After handling several accidents involving pedestrians, scooters and bicycles, each one the direct result of negligent or illegal actions, the Ocean City Police Department this week is reminding residents and visitors to strictly adhere to all traffic laws on resort roadways.
The OCPD responded to several accidents over the last week involving injuries with plenty of blame to go around in most cases, highlighting the need for residents and visitors to obey all traffic signals and utilize crosswalks and other safety devices. As is usually the case, this summer has been a tough one for accidents on Ocean City roadways, and with the height of the season just getting underway, the incidents will likely continue. In most cases, however, they can be prevented with common sense.
In one case this week, a motorist attempted to make an illegal left turn and struck two scooters at the same time. In all, four people were injured in the collision. In a separate incident, a bicyclist was listening to music with headphones in both ears, disregarded a red traffic signal and proceeded through an intersection and was struck by car.
In another case, a bicyclist was struck by a car in an intersection after failing to stop for a red traffic signal. Similarly, in yet another case, a pedestrian ignored a red traffic signal, attempted to cross the highway and was struck by a vehicle that had the right-of-way.
The OCPD is taking the opportunity of several accidents in the span of a few days to remind citizens, regardless of what type of vehicle they are operating, that they are required to follow all traffic laws. For example, it is illegal to wear headphones in both ears at the same time while operating any vehicle. All vehicle operators need to be extremely vigilant while driving and remain constantly aware of pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds and scooters.
Motorists are advised to avoid making quick turns without signaling or abrupt stops, and to proceed to a signaled intersection if a turn cannot be completed safely. Pedestrian are advised to allow plenty of time to cross intersections and to always use marked crosswalks. Pedestrians are also advised to avoid taking unnecessary risks while crossing busy streets against traffic lights. Finally, parents are reminded to pay close attention to children while crossing busy roadways and to take hold of small children’s hands while crossing or waiting for traffic signals to change.
Serious Charges Yet To Come
BERLIN – A Delaware man arrested in April in connection to an armed robbery in Berlin was found guilty last week on a marijuana possession charge associated with the case and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended, but he still faces the more serious charges including assault, armed robbery and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony.
Last Friday, Aaron T. Purnell, 23, of Delaware, appeared in District Court to face possession of marijuana charges and was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended. Purnell was arrested in April when Berlin Police were able to connect him to an armed robbery at the Union Station Car Wash a week earlier. At the time of his arrest, Purnell was found in possession of a small amount of marijuana and that portion of his case was dispensed with last week.
Around 3 p.m. on April 12, Berlin Police responded to the Union Station Car Wash on Old Ocean City Blvd. for a reported armed robbery. The victim told police the suspect held a handgun under his sweatshirt and threatened to shoot the man if he didn’t turn over his wallet and money. The victim complied and lost his wallet and an undisclosed amount of cash in the hold-up.
A week later, Berlin police were tipped off about a possible sighting of the suspect vehicle used in the armed robbery four days earlier. Officers responded to the area identified by the witness and observed a male subject that fit the description of the robber. When the officers approached, the suspect, later identified as Purnell, began to flee on foot. He was apprehended and detained pending further investigation, which revealed Purnell was wanted as a fugitive from justice in Delaware.
A search of the vehicle revealed a baggie of marijuana in the center console. During processing, the armed robbery victim was contacted and brought to the scene to identify Purnell from a prepared photo line-up. The victim identified Purnell as his assailant. Purnell was charged with armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault, the use of a handgun in a violent crime, possession of marijuana and a fugitive warrant from Delaware. He is scheduled to appear in court for the armed robbery, assault and handgun charges early next month.
For Pot Distribution
SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on marijuana distribution and other charges in December pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to three years in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and a fine.
Demar Antonio Leonard, 20, of Berlin, was in Circuit Court last week to face numerous charges including possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest following an incident in December when he attempted to come to the rescue of his girlfriend. Leonard entered an Alford plea to the possession with intent to distribute charge and was sentenced to three years in jail.
In an Alford plea, a suspect does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the case. Leonard’s three-year sentence was then suspended and he was fined $500 and placed on probation for two years.
Shortly after midnight on December 29, a Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol in the area of Route 113 and Bay Street in Berlin pulled a car over for a routine traffic violation. Upon contact with the driver, identified as Apree Tarah Beard, 20, of Berlin, the trooper noticed the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The trooper also noticed Beard making furtive moves in the direction of the back seat during the stop.
A probable cause search revealed a zip lock bag of suspected marijuana nestled in the back seat of the vehicle. The estimated value of the pot seized during the search was $1,200. Beard was then arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Beard later had the charges against her placed on the stet, or inactive, docket.
While at the scene, a male subject, later identified as Leonard arrived and became belligerent with the officers on the scene. Leonard, who was reportedly Beard’s boyfriend, became disorderly and failed to obey a lawful order, causing a large crowd to form around the scene. Leonard was also arrested, and was found to be in possession of marijuana and cocaine. He was also charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia.
For Leonard, his conviction last week is his latest run-in with local law enforcement officials. In July 2006, Leonard and another plaintiff filed a multi-million dollar civil suit against the town of Ocean City and six OCPD officers alleging police brutality during what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. In September, a settlement was reached in the case paying Leonard and his co-plaintiff $63,000, with the former awarded $60,000.