On the evening of Tuesday, May 8, around 8:05 p.m., an Ocean View police officer attempted to stop a 2015 Ford Mustang after a check of the vehicle’s tags showed it was flagged in Pennsylvania as an uninsured motor vehicle.
“When we tried to stop him, he failed to stop, which led to a pursuit that lasted several minutes,” said Ocean View Police Sgt. Rhys Bradshaw, noting that it was a high-speed pursuit. “At some point, speeds reached in excess of 75 miles an hour. In this area, with these back roads, that’s pretty fast, especially if you don’t know the area.”
The Mustang eventually came to a stop at Kent Avenue and Garfield Parkway, at which point the OVPD officer was assisted by an officer from the Bethany Beach Police Department.
The driver, who was later identified as Joseph A. Cook of Malvern, Pa., was told to exit the vehicle, which police said he refused to do.
“The officers tried to take him into custody. They had him at gunpoint, and he was trying to get away, brought his car forward — and that’s when he struck the officer with his car and then took off,” said Bradshaw, noting that the Ocean View officer did not sustain any injuries from the impact.
Police said Cook abandoned his vehicle at an occupied home on Parkwood Street, where he then fled on foot and was not apprehended at that time.
The OVPD prepared warrants for Cook’s arrest, Bradshaw said, and was able to track Cook to a home on Ogre Drive off of Muddy Neck in Ocean View.
“He was taken into custody at approximately 5 a.m. this morning, without incident,” said Bradshaw on May 9.
While investigating Cook, officers also found that Cook had been arrested multiple times in Pennsylvania on DUI charges.
“Pennsylvania further told us that Cook was sentenced on May 8 — which was the day of this happening — in Chester County, for nine months of probation on a DUI charge from October 2017,” said Bradshaw.
“The fact that Cook violated his probation only hours after sentencing shows his total lack of respect for the law and the courts,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin.
Cook was charged with failure to have insurance, reckless driving, careless driving, speeding, disregarding a police officer’s signal to stop (a Class G felony), offensive touching of a law enforcement officer, reckless endangering, resisting arrest and driving without a license.
Bradshaw said the department was grateful to neighboring agencies — the Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Dewey Beach, Fenwick Island police departments and the Delaware State Police — for their help in the incident.
“We are a small-town agency. The only way for us to have successful police-work in this area is cooperation from neighboring agencies, which happened last night, and which is always nice to see,” said Bradshaw.
Additionally, on the morning of May 8, an Ocean View officer had made a traffic stop that resulted in the confiscation of suspected marijuana and suspected THC oil.
During the stop, the vehicle’s passenger Cody Miller, 27, of Bishopville, Md., handed the officer a green container containing some suspected marijuana, police reported.
“The officer could also smell marijuana emanating from the vehicle,” said Bradshaw, “at which time both people were taken out of the vehicle. A search was conducted, and we were able to locate 61g of marijuana, which is over the threshold of what is considered personal use — which is 1 ounce, which is 28.35g.”
The officer also located suspected THC oil and 11 “one-hitters” (pipes used to smoke THC) filled with suspected THC oil.
Miller was charged with three counts of possession of marijuana over a personal quantity. He released on bond pending an appearance in the Court of Common Pleas.
By Maria Counts