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baltimoresun.com

Bel Air police charge juvenile in John Carroll graduation flyover

BY DAVID ANDERSON, daanderson@baltsun.com

11:49 PM EDT, June 3, 2013

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A former John Carroll School student who is allegedly responsible for flying a plane over Saturday's commencement at the Bel Air school has been charged, Bel Air Police said.

The former student, whose name was not released because he is under age 18, was charged with disorderly conduct, disrupting a school event and reckless endangerment, according to a news release issued by Bel Air Police Department Monday afternoon.

Bel Air Police said the juvenile, who is a licensed pilot, rented the plane from Harford Air Services in Churchville. Police released him to the custody of his parents.

Investigators are asking the public to send video footage of the aircraft flying over the ceremony. For more information, contact Det. Sgt. Jim Lockard, 410-638-4500 or jlockard@belairmd.org.

The single-engine plane made an unexpected appearance during commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon, flying over the graduates sitting on the school's athletic field.

The plane made repeated wide circles over the graduates seated on the Gerry Gray Memorial Field, the spectators in the stands and the school buildings behind them.

The engine noise was loud enough to occasionally drown out the words of graduation speaker Vickie Ensor Bands.

Bands, a 1975 graduate of John Carroll, did not stop her speech, however.

Some graduates and parents were perturbed by the appearance of the aircraft on the special day.

"It was very disrespectful of the parents and students who put so much into this," said Deborah Caperna, of Dundalk, whose son Anthony was one of 169 members of John Carroll's Class of 2013.

As they posed for pictures after the ceremony, Caperna and her son said the pilot did not stop everyone from enjoying the commencement.

"It could have thunderstormed," Caperna said. "It wouldn't have made a difference; God is good, always."

Graduate Jennifer Kreis declined to comment on the plane's appearance.

"It's really exciting," she said of graduating. "I can't believe that our four years are over, and I really love John Carroll and my classmates."

Campus Minister Patti Murphy Dohn said after the ceremony school officials had no comment.

Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola wrote in an e-mail Saturday evening that the town Police Department had received a complaint about the plane, and officials planned to follow up with the "complainant" and the Federal Aviation Administration.