BERLIN — A traffic stop turned into a manhunt this afternoon in downtown Berlin, where a wanted man remains on the run from police.
According to Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing, a Berlin Police officer spotted DaMar Collins, 26, driving in downtown Berlin with a passenger. The officer knew Collins was driving on a suspended license.
Collins knew he’d been spotted, too, and sped around a corner, where he and the passenger switched places.
He fled from the scene. A foot chase ensued. Collins ended up climbing up the side of a building. The officer tried to get at him from the ground. Collins managed to kick him in the face, and escaped, Downing said. The officer was hospitalized as a result of injuries sustained.
Collins then made his way through a window of the building, and ran through an apartment where someone was home. He exited by the front door, and ran down Washington Street in downtown.
Downing said police believe Collins caught a ride with someone, and fled the area.
Police searched the area for about 90 minutes. Their search included the South Main Street home of Leslie Gebhart. At the time, however, she was busy in West Ocean City, and kept hitting “ignore” as her mobile phone rang and rang.
“'Then I got a text from my neighbor across the street who never texts me — 'what are all the police doing in your front yard?'” she said. “Then I knew it was time to come home.”
Her 20-year-old daughter answered the door when police came knocking, asking if it was OK if the looked around. The State Police helicopter hovered directly over the home. Gebhart watched as pairs of police officers combed her yard.
As of 5:30 pm, “they said that they're pretty sure he’s probably gone at this point,” she said. “They know who they're looking for. But they're still crawling all over the place.”
Until they catch him, "I don't think we're going to sleep very good tonight,” she said.
The incident happened near Buckingham Elementary School, which was not affected, and was not put on lockdown. According to Worcester County schools spokeswoman Barb Witherow, there were no children inside at the time. A handful of staffers were present. There were no after-school programs this week, she also said.
Online court records show that DaMar Collins recently completed a prison term of more than two and a half years for a drug conviction in May 2010.
Collins is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing approximately 150 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to contact Berlin Police at 410-641-1334.