Mother of victim in Auburn hit and run sues driver

AUBURN — A local man who was sentenced last year to serve a month in jail in the hit-and-run of another local man is being sued by the injured man's mother.

William Panzino, 23, was named in a civil complaint filed recently in Androscoggin County Superior Court by Kelley J. Karkos, mother of Kyle Karkos.

In her lawsuit, Karkos wrote that Panzino was driving a car when he "intentionally, recklessly or negligently caused it to strike Kyle Karkos . . . while Kyle was walking in the vicinity of the Great Falls Plaza . . . causing Kyle to be thrown through the air and injured."

Kelley Karkos, who spoke at Panzino's sentencing, told the judge that she and her family were unhappy with the plea agreement.

“I am very disappointed with the outcome today,” Karkos said, crying as she addressed the judge. “It’s like a slap in the face to my son.”

An assistant district attorney assigned to the case said he came away from witness interviews concerned about his ability to win the state's case on the original charges.

In her lawsuit, Kelley Karkos said she was at the scene where she witnessed Panzino hit her son.

She "suffered and continues to suffer serious mental distress as a result of contemporaneously witnessing and perceiving her son being struck by" the car driven by Panzino "and sustain injuries, as well as medical expenses and lost earnings," her attorney, Alan Stone, wrote in the complaint.

Panzino pleaded guilty in April 2011 to reckless conduct and driving to endanger, both misdemeanors.

Prosecutors had said Panzino's actions were retribution from an earlier fatal accident in which Kyle Karkos was driving. He lost control of his car on a Lewiston street in 2006, and the car hit a light pole broadside. The passenger in his car, Kenny Jellison Jr., 18, of Auburn was killed. Then-17-year-old Karkos was acquitted of manslaughter in 8th District Court in Lewiston. The accident sparked a feud between friends and families allied with Karkos and Jellison.

Police said Karkos was involved in a fight with one of Panzino’s friends at a traveling carnival at Great Falls Plaza in Auburn in June 2010. Later that evening, after exchanging words with someone in Panzino’s car, Karkos was struck by that car while he was crossing the street, police said. Karkos was knocked to the ground and taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he was treated for cuts and bruises to his head, hands and back.

Panzino had told police he was distracted when he hit Karkos. He said he had tried to flick a lit cigarette butt out of his car window and it landed in his lap.

Panzino was charged with aggravated assault and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon — his car — for hitting Karkos that night in June. But the state dropped the assault charge and reduced the reckless conduct charge from a felony to a misdemeanor, then added the second misdemeanor.

Panzino was sentenced to a year in jail with all but 30 days suspended. He also was ordered on probation for a year during which he was ordered to have no contact with Kyle Karkos or his mother, Kelley.

A judge also ordered Panzino to pay just under $1,350 in restitution to Karkos. Panzino’s license was suspended for 30 days and he was fined $575.

Panzino could not be reached Thursday for comment.

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Lack of Comments

In the past my son's death and the stories that followed generated 100s of comments in the different social medias. It makes me happy to see so few on this story. It has been six years since his death and it appears that the Karkos family and this newpaper are the only ones still trying to tie this mess to my son's death. Perhaps the newspaper will take less interest in Kenny Mark and stop putting out stories about him and let this mess be put to rest. To all those through out the years that have prayed for us and supported us, thank you very much.


One last thing

I attended Kyle's trial. As much as I wished for a different outcome, the judge's decision rested on an import point that Kyle's lawyer brought up: the act had to be a "gross deviation" from normal behavior. Kelly is suing for what is called innocent bystander. One of the elements is the emotions had to be "beyond what a reasonable person could endure". Any cost you choose to accept after the fact are usually not allowed. These were minor injuries and non life threatening. I'm not sure taking time off from work is something that was needed and not something that was chosen. It will be interesting to see if a broad statement for an element of a case is what is used against the Karkos family - the same as was used for the Karkos family during Kyle's trial. That's what lawyers are for.


Here we go again

I understand how Kelly feels. I thought I was going to pass out when the judge said not guilty to all charges. I did not believe the AG came close to proving man slaughter, but I don't understand how it is not reckless driving and driving to endanger when you admit to running red lights, almost hitting another vehicle, and then killing someone in a 25 MPH zone. I wish I had seen my son hit by someone coming out of a parking lot and not a beautiful young man in the back seat of a car with his eyes open and blood drying on the side of his face. I do not agree with anyone hitting someone else with a car, but Panzino is telling us it was an accident and the AG could not prove otherwise. I hope the Karkos family and all their friends are as sympathetic and understanding when it comes to my son Travis who also saw his brother in the back seat of Kyle's car within seconds of the accident. Travis and our family did not get to hear a doctor tell us they are minor injuries and Kenny will be fine. It has been six years and it appears we are no closer to letting our family have time to heal. This is the second issue in a month that has brought this whole mess and the feelings back to our family as if it were a week ago the crash happened.

 's picture

it's funny

it is funny how karkos got off of killing someone and gets a slap on the wrist but when he is hit and is treated foir suts n bruises his mother wants to sue Panzino
if it was me i wouldn't bring up this matter karkos got off scott free if i did the same i would be in prison when you get your drivers license you are presumedan adult and required to do so not going through red lights speeding and crashing into telephone poles and killing the passenger

Jeff Johnson's picture

Um.... What?



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