Judge orders officer accused in road rage incidents to be released from jail — (wpxi.com)

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wpxi.com

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An Allegheny County police officer accused of assaulting people in three road-rage incidents in Brentwood and Pittsburgh will be released from jail and put on electronic monitoring, a judge ordered Monday.

Officer Andrew Marculaitis, 49, of Brentwood, also must undergo outpatient mental health treatment, anger management classes and surrender all of his guns, ruled Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning.

Marculaitis, a county police officer for 21 years, appeared before Manning via video teleconference from the Allegheny County Jail, where he was being held on $100,000 bond. He wore a red jumpsuit and stared straight ahead.

Detectives with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office charged Marculaitis with 20 counts, including ethnic intimidation, simple assault, harassment and official oppression for three separate road-rage incidents between May 23 and May 31.

Marculaitis has worked as the facilities manager at the Allegheny County Police Academy since 2007, but was on sick leave when charges were filed.

Dr. Christine Martone, chief psychiatrist for the county’s Behavior Assessment Unit, told Manning that Marculaitis had a negative reaction to Paxil, medication prescribed to him to treat his depression, which caused his behavior. In addition, Martone said Marculaitis has a mood disorder, experiences depressive episodes and has intermittent explosive disorder, which makes him unable to control his anger.

“It was clear the medication he had taken was having a counter-effect,” said Phil DiLucente, Marculaitis’ attorney.

DiLucente said his client’s mental issues stem from St. Patrick’s Day 2004 when he fell off a horse and had to have part of his foot amputated. The injury caused him to gain weight and made him depressed, DiLucente said.

“That horse fall completely changed his life,” he said.

Police said Marculaitis, driving a motorcycle on May 23, pulled alongside Zackary Espy’s sedan at a stop sign on Spangler and Catskill streets in Brentwood, reached in and struck Espy. Espy told police that a man wearing a Blue Knight Motorcycle Club vest with a gold badge got off the motorcycle, hit him in the forehead and grabbed his shoulder. A man in the backseat, Shawn Siciliano, recorded the incident on a cellphone. Siciliano later enhanced the video and told police he was able to read the name tag on the motorcycle club vest as “Marculaitis.”

Later that day, passers-by told a 911 operator that they saw a man, identified in a criminal complaint as Marculaitis, drive aggressively on Route 51 and argue with another man while he had a gun on his hip.

On May 31, Wendy Harmon told Brentwood police that a man blocked her vehicle on East Garden Road and berated her about her driving. She said the man, later identified as Marculaitis, refused to move his car and she had to squeeze by him to get away. When police questioned Marculaitis about that incident, he told them the woman should not have a driver’s license.

Investigators don’t believe Marculaitis knew any of the people he is accused of attacking.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.