18 On Guard

Assistant Crew Chief (ACC) Luke Ramina on 93rd Street in the north area on Monday, Sept. 14 using a piece of equipment issued to SRTs for fall guarding to aid in watching over a larger area. The next lifeguard to his north is at 100th Street.

This past Memorial Day weekend had all the signs of a washout, though police and surf rescue efforts remained steady as people still wanted to get outdoors.

OCPD Deputy Communications Manager Ashley Miller said there were 1,560 calls for service between Thursday, May 28 and Sunday, May 31. Of those calls, 1,023 were made by officers in the field, while 537 were from citizens.

The department also made 93 arrests of the weekend – five that were drug related, nine involving weapons and 11 DUIs.

The weekend kicked off with reports of a quadruple stabbing on Friday in North Ocean City at 130th Street.

According to the police report, the incident was the result of a potential drug deal gone bad. Two 18-year-old boys – Stas Urbanski-Hughes and Brandon Messick –   were arrested as suspects.

Police also arrested Timothy Hayter, 54, of Hagerstown who had a warrant out for his arrest. After four hours of negotiations, police were able to get Hayter to exit his downtown hotel room, and he was found to be in possession of a handgun, two loaded magazines and ammunition.

Police also made 93 traffic stops resulting in 255 citations and 76 warnings being issued. There were also 93 traffic accidents reported to police over the extended weekend.

“While we did not have the picture-perfect beach weather for Memorial Day weekend, we hope everyone was able to make the most out of the weekend,” Miller said. “During the weekend, our law enforcement personnel was out in full force and remained proactive.”

Lifeguards also took to the stands over the weekend along the 10-mile span of beach in Ocean City on Saturday morning.

Pictures plagued social media walls of the guards setting up their stands and sitting on watch while wearing their bathing suits and rain jackets. But those posting the pictures often gave words of thanks and support for the Beach Patrol staff being on duty.

Capt. Butch Arbin said for the first time in 23 years, a prayer service held on Saturday – day one of the season – had to be moved inside because of lightning. He also said there were periods of rain that day were the heaviest he has ever seen.

The rain threw a wrench into things, though the guards were expected to be on the stand, as the department provides rain gear and umbrellas. When lightning was present, they did not have to be in the stands, Arbin said.

Of the three days, Monday was the best, and things along the beach were quiet, according to Arbin, apart from a couple of rescues where swimmers got caught up in rip currents.

Still, if this weekend was a sign of how things are going to be this summer, it’s going to busier than normal.

As people begin to loosen up as covid-19 restrictions lift, Arbin said he believes more people are going to come to Ocean City.

“I do expect this summer is going to be a very busy summer for the Town of Ocean City,” he said.

This story appeared in the print version of Ocean City Today on June 4, 2021.

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