Deputies, sus­pect in­jured in melee

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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.”

ELK­TON

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

Early vot­ing is pop­u­lar this year, with num­bers al­ready sur­pass­ing the 2014 midterm elec­tion.

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