Police chief indicted in car chase


Port Deposit's police chief has been indicted on a reckless endangerment charge for allegedly firing three shots at a car driven by a hit-and-run suspect during a 15-mile high-speed chase through Harford County last year.

Samuel Mark Maranto, police chief of the Cecil County town for four years, is scheduled to stand trial June 30 in Harford Circuit Court. He was indicted by a Harford grand jury last month, then pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial, court records show.

Mr. Maranto, 34, of the 4000 block of Conowingo Road in Darlington, was not on duty at the time of the Nov. 15 incident. It began when Mr. Maranto saw a car strike a pedestrian as it sped from the parking lot of Harvey's Jr., a Darlington lounge, said Trooper Art Schroeder, a state police investigator.

Pierre Petetit, of Beaver, Pa., drove south from Darlington toward Bel Air on U.S. 1 with Mr. Maranto pursuing in his personal car, which had no siren, emergency lights or police radio, Trooper Schroeder said. Mr. Petetit had been fleeing from others after a fight in the bar when he struck the pedestrian, who was not seriously injured, police said.

Trooper Schroeder said Mr. Maranto fired three times at the fleeing suspect, striking Mr. Petetit's car as the chase continued along U.S. 1 in the sparsely populated community of Deer Creek near Darlington.

When Mr. Petetit reached the south end of the U.S. 1 Bel Air bypass, he drove into the parking lot at the state police barracks, said Trooper Schroeder. Seeing no state police cars in the lot and Mr. Maranto still in pursuit, Mr. Petetit sped roared out of the barracks lot and headed north on the U.S. 1 bypass until his car suddenly quit running.

Troopers arrived on the scene as Mr. Maranto tried to arrest Mr. Petetit, Trooper Schroeder said. State police arrested Mr. Maranto and Mr. Petetit.

Mr. Petetit was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and other traffic violations. He received probation before judgment on the DUI charge, and the traffic charges were dropped.

William B. Calvert, attorney for Mr. Maranto, declined comment because the case is pending. Mr. Maranto remains on duty as police chief.

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