Police: Drunken York City man breaks window in escape attempt

Christopher Dornblaser
  • Police say a York City man who was drunk tried fleeing from them before hitting a glass window and shattering it.
  • James Coates III also is accused of giving the judge an incorrect name during arraignment.
  • Coates remains in York County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.

A York City man allegedly tried running from officers while drunk at a hotel earlier this month, but he lost his balance and crashed into a glass window, shattering it, police said.

The man also is accused of giving a false name to the judge when he was originally arraigned on charges, prompting an additional charge, according to court documents.

Springettsbury Township Police say James Wardel Coates III, 33, of 727 E. Princess St., was given multiple chances to find a way home or get a hotel room when he was found passed out on the couch in a Quality Inn lobby. He allegedly resisted arrest during the ordeal and gave a fake name to officers, according to charging documents.

Coates is charged with resisting arrest, false identification to law enforcement, unsworn falsification to authorities, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, according to court documents.

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On the couch: Police were called to the hotel at 2600 E. Market St. about 6:20 a.m. Feb. 11. An employee called 911, saying Coates had entered the lobby and passed out on the couch, documents state. The employee told 911 that he didn't want to approach Coates in case he became violent, police said.

Before Coates fell asleep, the employee told Coates he couldn't sleep on the couch and that he needed a room to stay at the hotel, charging documents state. Coates had asked about renting a room but walked over to the couch after he was told how much it would cost, police said.

When two officers arrived at the hotel, they found Coates on the couch and woke him up, documents state.

Coates was seen with bloodshot and glassy eyes, and police say when asked if he was OK, Coates said he was in slow, slurred speech.

Asked why he was in the lobby and if he had a room, Coates just said "I'm all right," documents state. He tried explaining he had been with a friend and was trying to find her, according to police.

Police say Coates seemed confused and began making a phone call but hung up before heading to the front desk. He asked about his room, but the employee told Coates he didn't have one.

The officer asked Coates if he knew where his friend was staying, and the officer said he just wanted to get him to a room or a ride home, according to police.

Arrest: Coates was asked if he had identification, but he did not, and police say when he was asked what his name was, Coates said "Todd Colston."

Additionally, he had told them he was born in 1924, but the officer told him he looked younger than someone born that year, to which police say Coates corrected himself to say he was born in 1984.

Not long after that, the officer told Coates he was being arrested for public drunkenness and that he had had several opportunities to find a way home or go to a room but wasn't able to do it, police said.

When he was told to put his hands behind his back, Coates moved forward, and one of the responding officers grabbed his jacket, documents state.

Police say Coates broke free from the officer's grasp and started running down the hall.

At that point, Coates lost his balance and fell toward a solid glass window next to an exit door, documents state.

"I observed Coates fall forward, at which time his forehead hit the glass and the glass shattered," the officer wrote in charging documents.

Coates bounced off the window and hit the door, causing him to fall on his back through the doorway, police said. Coates allegedly continued to resist arrest, charging documents state.

Police say he crawled a few inches toward a flower bed outside. Coates had managed to get his head underneath a small pine tree, face down in the dirt, when police were able to place him in handcuffs, documents allege.

Afterward, Coates had a large, bleeding wound of his forehead, police said.

Name: Officers searched Coates and found a Florida driver's license with Coates' photo, but his name was listed as "Dwayn Noel Clarke," police said.

Police also found Florida DMV records and a Social Security number, leading police to believe the name on the ID was correct, documents state.

Coates was taken to central booking, where during his arraignment he told District Judge Robert Eckenrode that his name was Dwayn Clarke, police said.

Sheriff's deputies informed the responding officer that when Coates was taken to the prison and fingerprinted, records showed that he was actually James Wardel Coates III and not Dwayn Clark, police said.

Online court records show that Coates was arraigned on the original charges, under the name "Dwayn Clark," the night of Feb. 11. Those charges were withdrawn, and Coates was arraigned under his actual name Feb. 17, according to court records.

The unsworn falsification to authorities charge was added for allegedly providing the wrong name to Eckenrode when he was arraigned again, and Coates was remanded to York County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail. It is unclear if he has an attorney.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at District Judge Barry L. Bloss Jr.'s office.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.