GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJLA) — When most people are stopped on suspicion of driving drunk or high, any evidence of drugs or alcohol will be hastily stashed in places like the glove compartment or center console. However, Montgomery County Police allege a Damascus man took a much more leisurely approach during his latest run-in with the law.
On Sunday, November 5, a resident along the 9500 block of Melrose Square Way called the police. She told them a suspicious man appeared to be smoking marijuana in a black Ford Focus parked directly in front of her home. The car, she further explained, smelled a lot like pot.
According to court documents, an officer later found Philip Martin, 36, of Damascus, behind the wheel of that parked car with slurred speech, bloodshot and watery eyes, and the strong odor of alcohol on his breath. It was around 5:30 p.m.
Police say Martin’s vehicle was littered with other signs of intoxication: an open can of ‘Milwaukee’s Best’ beer in a cup holder, empty cans of beer littered across the back seat and a case of ‘Milwaukee’s Best’ on the front passenger floorboard.
During the traffic stop, Martin allegedly told officers he started boozing earlier in the day. Upon being asked when he cut himself off, police say Martin replied by saying, “I never did.”
To the surprise of the officer, Martin is said to have casually sipped from his frothy open can of ‘Milwaukee’s Best’ during the traffic stop. However, the 31-year-old did not care to wait for backup. And so, without much warning, he allegedly started the ignition, shifted into reverse and rammed into the officer’s marked squad car three as he was boxed in.
A medium-speed pursuit weaved its way through Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village for around 15 minutes. Police say Martin blew “at least” a dozen stop signs and “narrowly missed” a number of parked cars. The chase ended when Martin crashed into a second squad car parked on the roadway with its lights on.
Officers pulled Martin from his dinged-up Focus. In a move that likely did not help his case, he agreed to a breathalyzer test, which police say recorded a .10 blood alcohol concentration. The legal limit is .08 in Maryland.
While being booked at the Montgomery County Detention Center, Martin reportedly told three officers he did not plan on coming to court, which might have played a role in his inability to bond out of jail, so far.
According to court documents, Martin was convicted of DUI in 2003. He also has a pending DUI case from August.
His criminal record dates back to 2000 when Howard County authorities charged him with possessing alcohol as a minor. Other arrests include drug possession, theft, disorderly conduct and urinating in public.
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is currently representing Martin. Court records indicate he was unemployed and living with his mother prior to his arrest. Martin had previously worked at a local Papa John’s.
Police charged Martin with first-degree assault, malicious destruction of property and a slew of traffic infractions. He faces up to 31 years in prison, plus hundreds-of-dollars in traffic fines.
No officers were injured in either collision. The first police cruiser is said to have “significant” damage to its front bumper and grill. The second cruiser has “extensive” damage throughout.