Port Deposit's ex-police chief sued in shooting Plaintiff was chased after fleeing bar

November 18, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

An Oregon man filed a lawsuit seeking $14 million in damages from Port Deposit officials in connection with an incident last November when the former town police chief fired three shots at his car during an 18-mile chase through Harford County.

Bel Air attorney Max D. Miller filed the suit in Harford Circuit Court on behalf of Pierre Petetit, his wife Becky and children Joseph Nathaniel and Benjamin Matthew.

The suit names the town of Port Deposit, former Police Chief Samuel "Mark" Maranto, Mayor Erma M. Keetley and the Town Council as defendants.

In the suit, Mr. Petetit contends that Mr. Maranto was off duty, not in uniform and driving his own pickup truck when he began pursuing Mr. Petetit from the parking lot of Harvey's Jr. bar and restaurant at Conowingo and Arena roads.

Mr. Petetit contends that he feared for his safety from patrons who were attacking him outside the popular lounge and was trying to escape when Mr. Maranto took up the chase.

Mr. Maranto, the police chief who lost his job July 1 when the town disbanded the police force, was found innocent of criminal charges Sept. 2 after a two-day jury trial in Harford Circuit Court.

Testimony at the trial indicated that Mr. Maranto believed that Mr. Petetit was fleeing from a hit-and-run accident when he tried to stop Mr. Petetit's vehicle by firing a revolver at the rear tires.

The chase ended near Benson when state police arrived and charged both men.

Mr. Petetit later received probation before judgment on a charge of driving under the influence. Mr. Maranto was acquitted of reckless endangerment.

Mr. Petetit's suit seeks punitive and comprehensive damages from Mr. Maranto for unspecified mental, physical and emotional problems caused by his alleged negligence and use of excessive force.

It also contends that the town, mayor and Town Council should have taken greater care in hiring Mr. Maranto.

The suit further alleges that Mr. Petetit's wife and two sons suffered unspecified damages for loss of normal family relations.

Mr. Petetit, who lived in Beaver, Pa., at the time of the incident, now lives in Ashland, Ore., with his family.

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