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.