Deputies, suspect injured in melee
— Two deputies suffered injuries on Halloween night when a suspect in a domestic violence case dragged and struck them with his car on the street of an Elkton-area neighborhood while trying to flee, according to the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect, Angel Louis Rodriguez, 36, of the 100 block of Avalon Avenue in the Manchester Park community, north of Elkton, also stands accused of speeding through his neighborhood while trickor-treaters were walking in the streets and sidewalks, police reported.
“Deputies were contacted by several nearby residents who provided statements that Mr. Rodriguez was driving at a high rate of speed through the neighborhood and almost struck multiple children who were experiencing ‘trick or treating,’” said Lt. Michael Holmes, a CCSO spokesman. “I know the neighbors were pretty upset with him.”
At another point during the incident, he added, trick-or-treaters also were almost hit when Rodriguez’ unmanned car rolled toward them — before one of the deputies was able to redirect it.
The incident started with Dfc. Michael O’Donnell and Cpls. Jonathan Pristash and Mark Messner responding to the 100 block of Avalon Avenue for a domestic assault at about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, police reported.
Rodriguez’s wife told investigators that her husband — after he had been drinking alcohol all day — started choking her and then threw several punches, which she blocked with her arms, police said.
Investigators noticed bruising on the wife’s neck and arms that were consistent with her account, police added.
The suspect already had sped from the home in a black Volkswagen Jetta, but, once again speeding through the neighborhood, he returned while the deputies still were on the scene and stopped in front of the house, according to police.
By this time, Holmes noted, trick-or-treating had started in the neighborhood.
Rodriguez locked the car door and placed the Jetta into gear, when Pristash approached the vehicle while repeatedly ordering him to exit it, police said. The driver’s side window, however, was open, police added.
“Cpl. Pristash reached inside the vehicle (attempting) to prevent the vehicle from being placed in motion. Mr. Rodriguez was able to place the vehicle in gear, dragging Cpl. Pristash as he was partly in the vehicle. Mr. Rodriguez was holding onto Cpl. Pristash’s equipment as the vehicle was in motion,” Holmes outlined.
Observing the struggle, Messner approached the vehicle from the passenger’s side and attempted to help Pristash, police reported.
“Messner was struck by an open door from the vehicle, as it remained in motion,” Holmes said.
During the struggle, Pristash was able to remove himself and Rodriguez from the vehicle, according to Holmes. Pristash also was struck by the vehicle during that struggle, Holmes reported.
At that point, Messner noticed the unoccupied car traveling toward the road, according to police.
“Fearing for the safety of pedestrians (trick-or-treaters), Cpl. Messner ran after the vehicle and was able to turn the steering wheel, redirecting the vehicle away from the pedestrians. Cpl Messner was struck by the vehicle during these events,” Holmes said.
The car continued through a nearby yard, striking a Delmarva Power utility box and then a parked, unoccupied GMC Yukon, he added.
Rodriguez continued to struggle as Pristash attempted to arrest him, police reported.
“Mr. Rodriguez grabbed and attempted to remove Cpl. Pristash’s firearm from his holster,” Holmes said, noting that that particular struggle lasted for a moment.
The deputies arrested Rodriguez, who, having suffered “non-life-threatening” injuries during the incident, was transported to Union Hospital in Elkton and then transferred to University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore, police said.
A deputy in a CCSO patrol vehicle drove Pristash and Messner to Union Hospital, where they were treated for their scufflerelated injuries and then released, police added.
Rodriguez, who remained hospitalized on Thursday night, is facing numerous charges, including attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a suspended license and multiple counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault and obstructing and hindering, police reported.
Investigators will serve Rodriguez with the arrest warrant and take him into custody when he is discharged from the hospital.
Early voting is popular this year, with numbers already surpassing the 2014 midterm election.