Md. corrections officer rescues van driver

February 03, 2007|By Melissa Harris

A night-duty corrections officer at the Patuxent Institution single-handedly subdued a man whose vehicle rammed a van several times and then chased it to the front of the detention facility early yesterday, state police and corrections officials said.

Sgt. Arthur Betts of the Maryland State Police said the driver was taken to Howard County General Hospital for a mental evaluation. He has not been charged.

The man's vehicle apparently struck the van on northbound Interstate 95 at about 3:20 a.m. yesterday. The van driver pulled off the interstate onto eastbound Route 175, trying to escape, where his vehicle was struck again. The van driver pulled onto the grass in front of the entrance to the detention facility as the other vehicle smashed into his vehicle again.

"He [the van driver] pulls up on the concrete pad, about 10 feet from the gatehouse," said Mark A. Vernarelli, a spokesman for the corrections department.

Sgt. David Cacciotti, a 14-year corrections officer working in the facility's gatehouse, saw the van's headlights coming at him and then watched the driver jump from the van, followed by the attacker, Vernarelli said. Cacciotti subdued the attacker and held him until state police arrived, Vernarelli said.

Cacciotti will receive a commendation, Vernarelli said.

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