Ocean City Today

Pair enters plea deals after attempt to run down OCPD

Resort police fire weapons for first time in seven years while avoiding suspect car
By Brian Gilliland | Apr 12, 2018
Antonio Ambrosino and Arkad Espinal

(April 13, 2018) Sentencing is a little more than a month away for Antonio Ambrosino, 19, of Seaford, Delaware, who struck an Ocean City police officer with his car and backed into a sheriff’s deputy while trying to prevent a drug search during last September’s H20i event.

Ambrosino and his companion, Arkad Espinal, 21, of Reading, Pennsylvania, took plea deals to avoid the most serious charges, which included a count of attempted murder against Ambrosino, whose trial was last month. Espinal’s case was heard last Friday.

Ambrosino faced 15 charges overall, including two counts of first-degree assault charges and numerous drug and related charges. Espinal faced five charges.

Last week, Espinal pleaded guilty to felony possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, had a 45-day sentence suspended and was ordered to serve 18 months of supervised probation.

In March, Ambrosino pleaded guilty to felony first-degree assault, misdemeanor second-degree assault and felony possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. A presentencing examination was ordered, and his sentencing is scheduled for May 18.

According to court documents, four law enforcement officers approached Ambrosino’s car after spotting it parked in a lot behind the 33rd Street shopping center on Sept. 30. Two of them approached the vehicle from opposite sides, while two others remained at the rear of the car.

A sheriff’s deputy saw Ambrosino with a bag of suspected marijuana, which the pair attempted to hide while also ignoring orders to open his window. Instead, Ambrosino put the car into reverse and accelerated, pinning the deputy against another car.

Ambrosino then shifted into drive and accelerated toward Ocean City Police officer Pfc. Jeff Heiser, who fired his weapon at the oncoming vehicle. The car struck him with such force that he was thrown onto the roof of the car as it sped towards 34th Street. Heiser reportedly rolled onto the hood of another car before Ambrosino’s vehicle left the parking lot. According to the report, another officer also fired at the car.

Fleeing to 41st Street bayside, but finding it a dead end, Espinal exited the car and ran, but was apprehended by police a short time later.

Ambrosino proved harder to catch, as he also exited the vehicle and then jumped into the Isle of Wight Bay and began swimming away, according to police.

Natural Resources Police and State Police helicopter Trooper 4 were called to assist and found Ambrosino about 400 feet offshore. He was arrested after being brought onboard a patrol boat.

Ambrosino reportedly told officers he would rather die than go to jail at the time of his arrest.

Both officers were treated at Atlantic General Hospital for minor injuries and released.

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