STAMFORD — Police have arrested two panhandlers at Exit 9 of Interstate 95 over the past three days, charging them with reckless endangerment.

Sgt. Kenneth Jarrett said Eric Lein, 33, of Bridgeport, was charged Wednesday at noon after motorists were complaining about a man jumping out in front of their cars as they came down the ramp to Elm Street.

Jarrett said Lein has been warned against panhandling on the exit ramp in the past and has two pending criminal cases charging him with being a negligent pedestrian in Stamford and Bridgeport.

“This is an ongoing problem at the Exit 9 off-ramp with the cars coming down at a high rate of speed,” Jarrett said.

Lein was also charged with assault on a police officer because when he was being arrested he allegedly bit a police officer in the arm, but did not draw blood, Jarrett said.

On Monday at 10 a.m. police were called to the ramp on the report of an unattended backpack laying next to the roadway. When a police officer arrived at the ramp with his dog, Allen Turlis, 36, who stays at a homeless shelter in the South End, stuffed his sign asking for money into a sewer grate, according to police.

He then ran to the backpack and allegedly darted across the lanes of traffic, almost getting hit by a car and nearly causing rear-end accidents to the startled motorists who unexpectedly had to brake to avoid him, Jarrett said. As well as the reckless endangerment charge, Turlis is also facing charges of failing to cross at a crosswalk and using a road instead of a sidewalk.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com