CECIL COUNTY – Law enforcement officers have charged two Cecil County residents with violating Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency stay-at-home order after unrelated incidents, marking the first such cases here, according to court records and police officials.
The most recent incident started at approximately 1:45 a.m. on Friday, when Maryland State Police Tfc. Bruno approached the suspect, David Allen McCreary, 59, of North East, after he was spotted on surveillance camera screens standing on the lot of the agency’s North East Barrack in the 2400 block of West Pulaski Highway, police reported.
"He was standing near the fuel pumps," Lt. Jeffrey Kirschner, commander of the North East Barrack, told the Cecil Whig.
McCreary did not give Bruno a valid reason for being out in public, police said. After informing McCreary of the gubernatorial emergency stay-at-home directive and warning him to stay at home, unless he had an approved essential reason for leaving, the trooper drove McCreary to his residence in the 100 block of Heron Court, police added.
Approximately one hour later, however, McCreary reappeared at the North East Barrack - this time in a vehicle, according to Kirschner. Once again, surveillance cameras at the barrack videotaped McCreary on the agency's property, he reported.
"He pulled into the parking lot at about 3 a.m., but he never got out of his vehicle," Kirschner said.
That prompted Bruno to walk out of the barrack to investigate, according to Kirschner, who further reported, "The suspect was passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle."
McCreary agreed to perform field sobriety tests, which he did not carry out satisfactorily, police reported.
Bruno charged McCreary with failure to comply with a public health emergency order, a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, police said.
Last week, during a televised press conference, Hogan issued the emergency stay-at-home order, emphasizing that, under the new directive aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, Maryland residents can leave their homes only for specified reasons, including buying groceries, traveling to jobs deemed “essential,” picking up prescriptions and keeping medical appointments.
(Residents still are allowed to leave their homes to take walks, jog, walk their dogs and so forth, as long as those activities don’t involve more than 10 people.)
McCreary, who stands accused of “knowingly and willfully” violating the emergency health code, is scheduled for a May 11 preliminary hearing, according to Cecil County District Court records.
Bruno also filed drunken-driving charges against McCreary, police said. The trooper did not arrest McCreary but, instead, issued him a criminal summons and traffic citations, police added.
The first incident leading to charges of violating the stay-at-home order started at about 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, when Cecil County Sheriff’s Office Dfc. Carson White responded to a residence in the unit block of Cherry Lane near Elkton after receiving a report concerning a domestic assault, police reported.
White met with the alleged victim, a 46-year-old woman who alleged that her boyfriend, Sterling Tillman, 50, struck her in the head with the “back of a small broken metal chair, Cecil County District Court documents allege.
“Dfc. White observed an approximate half-dollar size lump towards the top of her head,” White wrote in his statement of probable cause, noting that he noticed that the wound had a “small amount of blood, which appeared to be fresh.”
The woman told the deputy that she was experiencing pain, but she refused medical treatment, police noted.
After the woman gave White a description of Tillman, CCSO deputies started searching for him, police said. A short time later, police added, Dfc. Dix and Deputy Darpino found Tillman at the intersection of Fletchwood Road and Chestnut Drive, northeast of Elkton, and arrested him.
“Deputy Darpino handcuffed Tillman, who exclaimed, ‘I have the coronavirus,’ referring to the current pandemic. Due to his utterance, Dfc. White, Dfc. Dix and Deputy Darpino all were required to place PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on ourselves and on Tillman himself . . . Tillman had made the statement, ‘Just cut me a citation, I’ll come to court’,” court records allege.
During their interaction, White determined that Tillman had “just bought cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, which does not coincide with the current Executive Order regarding the coronavirus in Maryland, which regards only leaving home for necessary items, such as food,” according to court records.
Tillman was driven to CCSO’s headquarters near Elkton, where deputies took Tillman’s temperature, which was considered normal, police reported.
“Dfc. White believes that Tillman made the utterance in regards to the coronavirus in an attempt to avoid an on-view arrest, thinking that law enforcement would disregard their investigation due to the threat of the lethal illness,” White wrote in charging documents.
The alleged statement made by Tillman prolonged his processing at the CCSO headquarters, according to police.
“Multiple Sheriff’s Office resources were committed to prevent the transmission of the disease (because) Tillman made the fraudulent coronavirus comment. This caused an approximate two-hour delay in his processing and booking,” court records allege.
Investigators charged Tillman with second-degree assault relating to his alleged attack on his girlfriend, in addition to failure to comply with a public health emergency order and obstructing and hindering, court records show.
Scheduled for a June 3 trial, Tillman is free after posting a $15,000 bond on Saturday, according to court records, which further indicate that he initially had been held in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond until his bail review hearing on Friday. During that hearing, a judge reduced his bond to $15,000, court records show.